Virginia’s District Courts are the lower trial courts and those of limited jurisdiction. There are 32 judicial districts in the state and a District Court in each county and city of Virginia. District Courts are often split into either a General District Court or a Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court to specialize in matters dealing with families and kids.
Most cases in the General District Courts will be local ordinance violations like traffic issues, parking tickets, and misdemeanors (where fines are $2,500 or less). With civil cases, District Courts can only handle matters of $25,000 or less. They can also process small claims cases of $5,000 or less. They sometimes hold preliminary hearings for felonies and other serious crimes. Some other cases heard in District Courts are landlord/tenant issues, contract disputes, personal injury cases, tort cases, mental health issues, child support, child custody, termination of parental rights, and other minor criminal offenses.
The Virginia District Court system also offers programs to help with drug addiction, domestic abuse, and mediation as an alternative to divorce. All the courts offer ADA accommodations and translator services.
Virginia’s Judicial System website is full of helpful resources for patrons of the court, attorneys and the general public. It offers case search technology, a payment portal for people to pay fines, fees and other court charges, e-filing options for most cases and an area with all the forms needed to file a case in Virginia. They also offer special programs and legal assistance to those individuals who need it. There are layers of information on District Courts, including a website for each one.
On average, Virginia’s District Courts see about 2.7 million cases per year. Of that total, 1.7 million are traffic-related cases, 720,000 are for civil matters, and 360,000 are for criminal offenses.