The Georgia trial court system consists of Superior Courts, State Courts, Magistrate Courts, Juvenile Courts, Probate Courts, Recorder's Courts, Municipal Courts, and Civil Courts.
Superior Courts have general jurisdiction over all types of cases, but typically only handle cases that are beyond the jurisdiction of other courts. Courts with limited jurisdiction over certain types of cases include State Courts, Magistrate Courts, Juvenile Courts, Probate Courts, Municipal Courts, Civil Courts and Recorder's Courts.
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Georgia Superior CourtsSuperior Courts have general jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases, but typically only handle cases that are beyond the jurisdiction of other courts.
Criminal cases heard by Superior Court include felonies and lesser-included offenses.
Civil cases heard by Superior Court include equity, title to real property and domestic relations.
Each Superior Court has a Family Court division with jurisdiction over divorce and related cases that involve children, such as child support, custody, child abuse, domestic violence, legitimacy and paternity.
Family Court divisions may hear other types of cases, including cases transferred to a Family Court division from other courts.
Georgia State CourtsState Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of civil and criminal cases.
Criminal cases handled by State Courts include misdemeanor criminal cases and traffic offenses.
Civil cases handled by State Courts include all civil actions not within the exclusive jurisdiction of Superior Courts.
State Courts may share some jurisdiction with other types of courts.
Georgia Magistrate CourtsMagistrate Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of civil and criminal cases. Magistrate Courts do not offer jury trials, and if a proper request is made for a jury trial, the case will be transferred to a Superior Court or State Court.
Criminal cases handled by Magistrate Courts include preliminary hearings, some minor criminal offenses and county ordinance violations.
Civil jurisdiction includes most general civil claims with less than $15,000 in dispute.
Cases typically handled by Magistrate Courts include landlord-tenant cases and deposit account fraud (bad checks).
Georgia Juvenile CourtsJuvenile Courts have exclusive original jurisdiction over cases involving children alleged to be delinquent, unruly, deprived, or in need of treatment due to mental illness or “mental retardation.”
Juvenile Courts also handle juvenile traffic offenses and cases involving judicial consent for minors when required for marriage, employment, enlistment, abortion and other circumstances.
Juvenile Courts may handle certain cases for termination of parental rights and other types of juvenile matters, including child custody, paternity or child support cases related to pending Juvenile Court cases or referred by another court.
Juvenile Courts share jurisdiction with Superior Courts over certain crimes committed by juveniles, but Juvenile Courts do not have jurisdiction over certain serious criminal cases that are within the exclusive jurisdiction of Superior Courts, such as murder, rape and armed robbery.
Georgia Probate CourtsProbate Courts have exclusive original jurisdiction to handle cases involving the probate of wills, the administration of estates, guardianships of minors or “incompetent” persons, and other types of probate cases.
If authorization is granted to a Probate Court, other cases may be heard, including some traffic cases, some fish and game ordinance violations, and some criminal commitment hearings.
Georgia Recorder's CourtsRecorder's Courts handle traffic infractions, city and county ordinance violations, some criminal cases and preliminary hearings for criminal cases.
Georgia Municipal CourtsSome municipalities have established Municipal Courts with limited jurisdiction to handle municipal ordinance violations and preliminary hearings for certain criminal cases.
Some Municipal Courts may share jurisdiction with other courts for certain minor criminal offenses.
Georgia Civil CourtsSome counties have Civil Courts that handle civil cases involving less than $25,000 in dispute. Civil Courts may offer jury trials to eligible cases.
Georgia Accountability CourtsSome Georgia Courts have special divisions for certain types of cases. These divisions are generally referred to as Accountability Courts but are part of existing courts. Accountability Courts offer comprehensive social services as an alternative to incarceration or other penalties in certain types of criminal and juvenile cases.
Accountability Courts focus on rehabilitation and personal responsibility. Various types of Accountability Courts exist and the services offered vary across the state. Accountability Courts include Adult/Felony Drug Courts, DUI Courts, Juvenile Drug Courts, Family Dependency Treatment Courts, Mental Health Courts, Juvenile Mental Health Courts, Child Support Problem Solving Courts, and Veterans Courts.
Adult/Felony Drug Courts are currently available in the judicial circuits of Appalachian, Atlanta, Atlantic, Augusta, Bell-Forsyth, Blue Ridge, Brunswick, Chattahoochee, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Conasauga, Coweta, Dubln, Eastern, Enotah, Griffin, Gwinnett, Macon, Mountain, Northeastern, Ocmulgee, Ogeechee, Pataula, Piedmont, Stone Mountain, Tallapoosa, Towaliga, Waycross and Western.
DUI Courts are currently available in the judicial circuits of Atlanta, Atlantic, Augusta, Bell-Forsyth, Blue Ridge, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, Eastern, Flint, Gwinnett, Northeastern, Ogeechee, Rockdale, Stone Mountain and Western.
Family Dependency Treatment Courts are currently available in the judicial circuits of Appalachian, Atlanta, Augusta, Cherokee, Cobb, Coweta, Douglas, Eastern, Enotah and Northeastern.
Juvenile Drug Courts are currently available in the judicial circuits of Alcovy, Appalachian, Atlanta, Bell-Forsyth, Chattahoochee, Cobb, Coweta, Dublin, Macon, Ocmulgee, Rockdale and Stone Mountain.
Mental Health Courts are currently available in the judicial circuits of Appalachian, Atlanta, Augusta, Bacon, Chattahoochee, Cobb, Dougherty, Eastern, Enotah, Flint, Macon, Northeastern, Ocmulgee, Piedmont, South Georgia, Stone Mountain and Western.
Juvenile Mental Health Courts are currently available in the judicial circuits of Eastern and Stone Mountain.
Child Support Problem Solving Courts are currently available in the judicial circuits of Augusta, Coweta, Flint, Northeastern, Stone Mountain, and Western.
Veterans Courts are currently available in the judicial circuits of Augusta, Chattahoochee, Eastern, and Towaliga.
Where to find court cases in GeorgiaThe chart below gives general information on the types of cases heard in each type of court in Georgia.