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Virginia Court System Overview
General District Court
 
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Contact Us

Clerk
Ms. Linda J. Moore

Phone Numbers
(804) 748-1231
(804) 748-1757 Fax

Internet/E-mail/Fax Filing
Filings are accepted via mail, courier or hand delivery.

NOTE: Filings will not be accepted via the Internet, e-mail or fax.


General District Court Clerk's Office Hours
8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Monday through Friday, excluding State holidays.


Mailing Address
P.O. Box 144
Chesterfield, VA. 23832

Street Address
9500 Courthouse Road
Chesterfield, VA. 23832 

Driving Directions  

 

 



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General District Court
Virginia Court System Overview

Virginia's court system includes the District Courts, consisting of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District (J & DR) Court and the General District Court. These are courts of limited jurisdiction. The J & DR District Court handles cases involving delinquents, juveniles accused of traffic violations, child abuse, spousal abuse, support and custody matters involving minors, and children in need of services. The General District Court hears civil cases involving amounts up to $25,000, criminal cases involving misdemeanors, and traffic violations. Clerks of the J & DR and General District Courts are appointed by the Chief Judges of those respective courts.

Final decisions of the District Courts may be appealed to the Circuit Court. Circuit Court appeals cases are heard de novo (i.e., completely new). Unlike Circuit Courts, District Courts do not conduct jury trials nor do they have jurisdiction to adjudicate felony cases. Instead the District Courts are limited to holding preliminary hearings for felony cases to merely establish probable cause.

For cases involving monetary disputes between $5,000 and $25,000, General District Courts and Circuit Courts have concurrent jurisdiction. Some litigants choose to pursue legal action through the General District Court since the cost of filing suits is less than that in the Circuit Court. In addition, because forms for legal pleadings may be obtained from the General District Court and not the Circuit Court, some litigants find it more advantageous to file suit in the General District Court. Claims for less than $5,000 can be initiated only in General District Courts.

For civil cases exceeding $25,000, the Circuit Court has exclusive original jurisdiction. In addition, Circuit Courts have jurisdiction to preside over all types of criminal cases, including felonies and misdemeanor charges certified by a grand jury. Circuit Courts also preside over chancery suits (or those claims seeking judgments for something other than money). These include, but are not limited to, the following: divorce proceedings; will, trust and estate matters; name changes; property disputes; adoption proceedings; employee grievances; administrative appeals (i.e., zoning, real estate assessment, etc.); and a variety of other actions.

Circuit Court decisions may be appealed to the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court of Virginia, depending on the type of case involved. Death penalty, lawyer disbarment, and most civil cases are appealed to the Supreme Court. While death penalty and lawyer disbarment cases are matters of right, civil appeals must be initiated by filing a petition for appeal. Traffic infractions, domestic relations and other criminal cases may be appealed from the Circuit Court to the Court of Appeals.