The circuit court is the trial court with the broadest powers in Virginia. The circuit court handles all civil cases with claims of more than $15,000. It shares authority with the general district court to hear matters involving between $3,000 and $15,000. The circuit court has the authority to hear serious criminal cases called felonies.
The court that most people have contact with is the general district court. The general district court handles most traffic violations. The general district court also hears minor criminal cases known as misdemeanors and conducts preliminary hearings for more serious criminal cases called felonies.