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The Commonwealth of Virginia has a unified district court system consisting of the General District Courts and the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts.  There are 32 districts in the state.  Every city and county has a General District Court and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. Virginia judicial districts map

The judges of Virginia's district courts are elected by a majority vote of each house of the General Assembly for terms of six years.

The district courts are limited jurisdiction courts.  Jurisdiction is the power or authority of a court to hear or decide a case.  These courts can only hear certain types of criminal or civil cases. 

After considering the evidence, the judge decides the question of guilt or innocence.  If the defendant is found guilty, the judge determines which penalty, as set by the Code of Virginia, is proper and lawful.

The district courts do not conduct jury trials.  All cases are heard by a judge.  Each defendant in a criminal case is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.                    

The decision (a court order or judgment) of the judge in the District Courts may be appealed to the Circuit Court.  Cases appealed to the Circuit Court are reheard de novo (as completely new cases).

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