Criminal Justice System

Virginia's current court system consists of 4 levels of courts: the District Courts, the Circuit Courts, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court, the highest court in Virginia. The courts are organized into 31 judicial circuits and 32 judicial districts. In addition, Virginia's judicial branch of the government employees over 2,500 people, including judges, clerks, attorneys, bailiffs, and victim-witness assistance staff.

To many, the prospect of going to court, as a juror, witness, or the victim of a crime, can be confusing and a little frightening. Understanding the system and how cases move through the process can help make one's experience more positive.

The information provided is intended to provide a basic understanding of how Virginia's Judicial System operates, addressing the key parts of the system, as well as outlining how a case might process through the system from beginning to end.
  1. Procedures in Felony Cases
  2. Procedures in Juvenile Cases
  3. Procedures in Misdemeanor Cases
A flow chart showing procedures in felony cases.