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James City County Court is the 9th Judicial Circuit of Virginia. This Court circuit court is the trial court with the broadest powers in Virginia. The General Assembly elects the Circuit court judges on 8-year terms. The Circuit Courts are trial courts which have jurisdiction over civil claims, criminal cases, equity suits, and appeals. A civil claim is generally a claim in which a person "claims" another person or organization harmed him or her in some way such that monetary compensation is justified.

Any civil claims involving $3,000 or less are heard in the General District Court, and civil claims involving over $3,000, but not exceeding $15,000 may be heard in either the General District Court or the Circuit Court; however, civil claims involving over $15,000 may only be heard by the Circuit Court. The most often mentioned civil claim is a claim for compensation as the result of someone's negligence in causing an automobile accident, but there are many more civil claims heard in the Circuit Courts, including, but certainly not limited to breach of contract, landlord-tenant, product liability, slander, and libel. The circuit court has the authority to hear serious criminal cases called felonies.

In criminal cases, the Circuit Court hears all felonies and misdemeanors originating from a grand jury indictment. In addition, the Circuit Court hears all misdemeanors appealed from the General District Court. A felony is a crime which, among other sanctions, could result in a sentence to the State penitentiary for one year or more, and a misdemeanor is a crime which, among other sanctions, could result in a sentence to jail or not more than twelve months. The circuit court also handles family matters, including divorce. In addition, the circuit court hears cases appealed from the general district court and from the juvenile and domestic relations district court.

Contact information:

James City County Circuit Court
5201 Monticello Avenue, Suite 6
Williamsburg, VA 23188-8218
Phone: (757)564-2242
Fax: 757/564-2329



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