The Virginia trial court system consists of Circuit Courts, General District Courts, and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts.
Circuit Courts have general jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases but typically only handle cases beyond the jurisdiction of other courts. General District Courts and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of cases.
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Virginia Circuit CourtsCircuit Courts have general jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases but typically handle cases beyond the jurisdiction of other courts.
Criminal cases heard by Circuit Courts include felonies and lesser-included offenses.
Civil cases heard by Circuit Courts include general civil claims for more than $4500, exclusive of interest and attorney fees. Circuit Courts also handle divorce cases and the probate of wills.
Virginia General District CourtsGeneral District Courts have jurisdiction over certain types of civil and criminal cases.
Criminal cases heard by General District Courts include preliminary hearings, misdemeanors, ordinance violations and traffic infractions.
General District Courts have exclusive original jurisdiction over most general civil claims for less than $4500, exclusive of interest and attorney fees. General District Courts share jurisdiction with Circuit Courts over claims for more than $4500 but less than $15,000, exclusive of interest and attorney fees.
General District Courts also hear civil cases without financial limits on claims, including attachment, unlawful entry or detainer, Freedom of Information Act disputes and the partition of personal property.
Virginia Juvenile and Domestic Relations District CourtsJuvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts have jurisdiction over most domestic relations cases (except for divorce), juvenile cases, and some criminal cases.
Cases heard by Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts include child custody, child visitation child support, parentage, child abuse and neglect, adoption, termination of parental rights, certain juvenile offenses, mental health cases involving minors, judicial consent to medical procedures for a child, emancipation and orders of protection.
Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts may handle certain criminal offenses involving family members or harm to a child.
Virginia Drug Treatment CourtsSome courts may have Drug Treatment Court divisions for certain types of cases.
Where to find court cases in VirginiaThe chart below gives general information on the types of cases heard in each type of court in Virginia.