There is a General District Court in each city and county in Virginia. The General District Court hears traffic violation cases, minor criminal cases known as misdemeanors, and civil cases such as landlord and tenant disputes, contract disputes, and personal injury actions.
The General District Court does not conduct jury trials. All cases in this court are heard by a judge. Jury trials are held only in Circuit Court, as provided by the Constitution of Virginia. The judge is sworn to enforce, without favor, the laws of the Commonwealth and community. By law, the court must apply rules of procedure and evidence to each case it hears. These procedures are applied uniformly, regardless of who is appearing before the court.
If you are appearing in court, it is likely for one of the following reasons:
You are a plaintiff because you filed a civil suit.
You are complainant because you have caused criminal charges to be brought against someone.
You are a defendant because someone is suing you, or you have been charged with a traffic violation or a criminal offense.