General District Courts

It is the court's wish that you know your rights and duties. Our office wants every person who comes here to receive fair treatment in accord with the ideals of American justice.

By law, the court must apply rules of procedure and evidence to each case it hears. These procedures are applied uniformly, without regard to personal considerations. The judge is sworn to enforce the law without favor. It is the responsibility of the judge to adhere to the laws of the State and community, which are made by the people for the protection of all.

The General District Court does not conduct jury trials. All cases in General District Court are heard by a judge. Jury trials are held only in Circuit Court, as provided by the State Constitution.

The Code of Virginia defines criminal offenses and sets penalties. For many offenses, the penalty prescribed is a fine. Fines collected for violations of city, town, or county ordinances are paid into the treasury of the city, town or county whose ordinance has been violated. All fines collected for violation of State law are paid into the State Treasury. The amount of the court costs is set by the State legislature, and the court cannot suspend or waive cost. Judges, clerks, and magistrates are salaried with public funds and they collect no individual fees. The court is not operated to produce revenue.

Important Information on the General District Court

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