General District Court

About the Court
The General District Court processes a variety of civil, criminal and traffic cases. In criminal cases, the General District Court handles misdemeanors and violations of ordinances and bylaws of the County and the towns within the district. It also conducts preliminary hearings for felony criminal cases.

It has jurisdiction over civil cases in which monetary damages are $1,000 or less and shares jurisdiction with the local Circuit Court when the damages are between $1,000 and $15,000. This Court hears cases in which claims for recovery or possession of personal property or rented property are concerned. It also handles all traffic violations, except those involving juveniles. Rulings of this court may be appealed to the local Circuit Court.

Judicial districts in the Commonwealth generally cover the same geographic area as judicial circuits and every county in the state has a General District Court. The General Assembly annually determines the number of judges to be assigned in each District based on a study made by a state-wide committee. The General Assembly also selects the judges who will sit on the Court, establishes their compensation and pays them directly. No local supplement to their pay is permitted. The number and compensation for substitute judges, clerks and other Court personnel are also set by the State and cannot be supplemented.

The County is required to provide adequate and suitable space for the Court and pay for furniture, equipment and office expenses.