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Virginia State Courts

Courts – State Courts – Virginia

Highest Court

Supreme Court
The Supreme Court consists of 7 judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) Mandatory jurisdiction in capital criminal, criminal, administrative agency, and disciplinary cases. (2) Discretionary jurisdiction in civil, noncapital criminal, administrative agency, juvenile, disciplinary, original proceeding, and interlocutory decision cases.

Intermediate Courts

Court of Appeals
The Court of Appeals consists of 11 judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) Mandatory jurisdiction in some civil, some administrative agency, and some original proceeding cases. (2) Discretionary jurisdiction in noncapital criminal cases.

General Courts

Circuit Court
The Circuit Court consists of 150 judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) Tort, contract, real property rights ($3,000-no maximum), mental health, administrative agency appeals, miscellaneous civil, domestic relations, civil appeals from trial courts, and estate jurisdiction. (2) Felony, misdemeanor, and criminal appeals. (4) Ordinance violation.
No jury trials are overseen by this court.

Limited Courts

District Court
The District Court consists of 124 judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) Tort, contract, real property rights ($0-15,000), support/custody, interstate support, domestic violence, miscellaneous domestic relations, mental health, and small claims in Fairfax County. (2) Felony, misdemeanor, exclusive DWI/DUI jurisdiction, ordinance violation, exclusive moving traffic, parking, and miscellaneous traffic jurisdiction. (3) Exclusive juvenile jurisdiction. (4) Preliminary hearings.
No jury trials are overseen by this court.

Additional Information

Right of appeal.
A person that is convicted in a district court of an offense that is not a felony has 10 days  to appeal to the circuit court, taking into consideration that the conviction was not upon a guilty plea.   There shall also be an appeal of right from any order or judgment of a district court forfeiting any recognizance or revoking any suspension of sentence. (Virginia Code § 16.1-132)

Reopening case after conviction.
A person convicted in a general district court or a juvenile and domestic relations district court has 60 days to submit an application to reopen the case, considering that the case was not felonious. The judge who original heard the case shall preside over the reopen case, if the original judge is not available, an appropriate judge of the court shall preside.  If the case is reopened after the case documents have been filed with the circuit court, the clerk of the circuit court shall return the case documents to the district court in which the case was originally tried. (Virginia Code16.1-133.1)

Judicial performance evaluation program.
The Supreme Court shall maintain a judicial performance evaluation program that will act as a self-improvement tool for judges and as a source of information for the reelection process.  The Supreme Court is responsible for sending a evaluation of the final year of the term of each justice and judge whose term expires during the next session of the General Assembly to the Chairmen of the House and Senate Committees for courts of Justice, by the first day of September. (Virginia Code§ 17.1-100)

Residence requirements of judges.
During the judge’s term of office, the judge of a circuit court shall reside within his/her circuit.  If the circuit’s boundary changes by annexation or other reason, the judge will not be disqualified or ineligible for reelection because of this change.  (Virginia Code§ 17.1-103)

Display of flags in courtrooms
A flag of the United States and a flag of the Commonwealth of Virginia shall be displayed in each courtroom of a court of record.  The governing bodies of each county and city is responsible for providing a flag and may accept gifts or flags to obtain the display. (Virginia Code§ 17.1-118)

Trust fund order book.
A trust fund order book is to be kept by the circuit court clerk which shall record all reports, orders, and decrees concerning moneys received or to be received by general receivers pursuant to § 8.01-582 and by clerks pursuant to § 8.01-600.  Recording of orders and decrees pursuant to this section shall be in addition to, and not in lieu of, any recording otherwise required by statute.(Virginia Code§ 17.1-125)

Records, etc., open to inspection; copies; exception.
The records and papers of every circuit court shall be open to any person.   The clerk shall furnish copies, expect as otherwise noted.  A copy from a bound volume shall have the name and number of the volume and the page or folio of when the copy began. A person is prohibited to use the office if there presence interferes with the business of the office. (Virginia Code § 17.1-208)

Inside Virginia State Courts