The District Court hears a wide range of criminal, civil, housing, juvenile, mental health, and other types of cases. District Court criminal jurisdiction extends to all felonies punishable by a sentence up to five years, and many other specific felonies with greater potential penalties; all misdemeanors; and all violations of city and town ordinances and by-laws.
In civil matters, District Court judges conduct both jury and jury-waived trials, and determine with finality any matter in which the likelihood of recovery does not exceed $25,000. The District Court also tries small claims involving up to $7,000 (initially tried to a magistrate, with a defense right of appeal either to a judge or to a jury).
The District Court's civil jurisdiction also includes many specialized proceedings, including abuse prevention restraining orders and civil motor vehicle infractions (tried initially to a magistrate, with right of appeal to a judge).
The District Court is located in 62 courts across the Commonwealth.
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Civil Motor Vehicle Offenses
- Criminal Information
- District Court Administrative Office
- District Court Appellate Division
- District Court FAQ Topics
- District Court Filing Fees
- District Court Forms
- District Courts by County
- Harassment Prevention Orders
- Jurisdiction of the District Court Department
- Laws & Standards
- Mission Statement
- Representing Yourself In A Civil Case: Things to Consider When Going to Court
- Sentencing Best Practices
- Small Claims
- Time Standards