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Court Divisions

Civil

Civil cases involve violation of private rights rather than violation of criminal law. A civil matter involves a lawsuit in which one party sues another to recover money or property, to enforce a contract or an obligation, to collect damages for injury or to protect some civil right.

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Criminal

Criminal cases range from relatively minor offenses such as traffic infractions to serious ones like robbery and murder. The State, as the protector of all the people, makes the charge against the accused, because a crime is considered an act against society.

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Family

The Family Division hears cases involving divorce and legal separation, child and spousal support, child custody and visitation, restraining orders, mediation and arbitration. Family Court Services is also part of the Family Division, and handles mediation and parent orientation.

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juvenile

The Juvenile Division handles cases of children under 18 years of age who violate any law or are accused of a crime (which falls into Juvenile Justice Court), or any children who are abused or neglected (which falls into Juvenile Dependency Court).

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probate

The Probate Division handles a range of issues involving adults and children. Matters that fall into probate include transfer of property of people who have died, wills & trusts, adoption, conservatorships, guardianships, and name changes.

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small claims

The Small Claims Court is a special court in which disputes are resolved inexpensively and quickly. The rules are simple, the hearing is informal. and attorneys are not allowed. Small Claims cases are heard in the Downtown Superior Court (DTS).

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Traffic

Traffic Court deals with violations of traffic laws and other minor offenses. These violations are considered “infractions” and include, for example, speeding and expired licenses. Traffic infractions are enforced by the issuance of traffic tickets (“citations”).

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