Michigan District Courts are the limited jurisdiction courts of the state. They are often referred to as the “people’s court.” District Courts see more cases than any other in the state. The types of cases handled in District Court are tort cases, real property cases, small claims, preliminary hearings for felonies, misdemeanors and ordinance violations.
These courts are local courts that focus on civil and criminal actions in their district. The most common type of issues resolved are traffic violations. They can handle civil suits of up to $25,000, landlord-tenant disputes, traffic tickets, and misdemeanors, (where the punishment would be less than a year in jail). In most areas, District Courts have a special small claims division to handle civil matters between residents. However, in a few municipalities like Grosse Pointe, Grosse Pointe Farms, Grosse Pointe Park, and Grosse Point Shores/Grosse Pointe Woods they have chosen to keep a Municipal Court rather than a District Court.
Michigan has 103 District Courts with 235 judges presiding. District Court judges are elected into office by the voters in their district, and they serve six-year terms.
Due to the fact that District Courts are people’s court and many of the litigants are "pro se" or "self-represented" the Michigan Courts website offers a lot of resources and help for navigating the trial court system. They have links on how to file forms for small claims, start the divorce process, find a lawyer, obtain a protective order and other resources for many common legal issues.
For the last year tallied, Michigan District Courts saw 3,251,921 cases with 113,760 of them being felonies, 302,124 were misdemeanors, 71,422 were for other violations, 1,328,465 were for traffic violations, 349,362 were for civil actions, and 308,472 were for parking tickets.