District Courts in Utah are the general jurisdiction courts for the state and the highest trial courts. These courts do use jury trials and sometimes bench trials. These courts are authorized to hear both criminal and civil cases.
There are seventy-one full-time District Court judges. The state is divided into eight judicial districts with District Courts in each one. The Utah Courts website has a Gallery of Judges with full biographies and contact information for each.
District Courts have original jurisdiction for all civil cases and criminal felonies such as sex and drug crimes, murder, assaults, arson, robbery, and forgery. These courts also hear cases of misdemeanors, contract disputes, real property cases, tort cases, mental health cases, estate/probate matters, domestic relations issues like divorce, child support, adoption, child custody, along with traffic violations and other civil actions. Additionally, these courts can issue “extraordinary writs.” Appeals from administrative agencies may be heard in District Courts.
The Utah Courts website has an entire section on District Courts including links to each district’s individual website, information about jury duty, a District Court locator map feature, contact information for the Court Clerk and other administrative assistants along with criminal rights videos.
The state of Utah has established a division of District Courts to handle special areas of interests like Drug Courts to help with rehabilitation and treatment for adults who are struggling with addictions. These special District Courts are aimed at reducing the number of crimes related to drugs and alcohol. Judges have recognized that punishment does not help repeat offenders and that programs for treatment are what is needed to solve the problem. The Utah Courts website has a whole page of information on these courts and links to get help or learn more.