District of Columbia Court Records Lookup

The following is for information purposes only

District of Columbia Court Records

What types of courts are in Washington DC?

When compared with other areas, the courts in Washington DC are very different. There isn't a city court, circuit court, or a justice court, like there are in various states. Instead, there is the Superior Court of DC and the DC Court of Appeals. The Court Systems administers both of these courts. They respond to it, helping to keep everything in check.

The Court of Appeals is the last resort for many different types of cases and acts as a state supreme court would- making it the highest level of court. That means this court reviews trials and cases that come to it. The court can overturn or change judgements they feel don't fit with the law. The Superior Court, however, handles all of the criminal cases.

Overall, you'll find these two main courts in the area. The DC Superior Court is essentially the trial court. It hears all types of cases, unless they must go to the federal court. This includes:

  • Civil cases
  • Criminal cases
  • Family cases
  • Probate and tax cases
  • Domestic violence

The DC Court of Appeals reviews judgements that the Superior Court makes. It can also answer questions that may arrive with laws and doesn't preside over any trials. In short, the DC Court of Appeals is the higher level, but both work together to ensure the legal system in Washington DC runs smoothly.

How are Washington DC court cases managed?

The courts in DC are managed by the DC Court of Appeals. This is the highest level court, so it keeps the Superior Court in check by making sure it's making appropriate judgements that coincide with the law. The DC Court of Appeals also receives appeals from those who want their cases to be reviewed. This process ensures that the trials progress without any bias.

Depending on what the DC Court of Appeals determines, it can change the results of the Superior Court's trials. This only will be done if the judges determine that the initial ruling was unfair. The judges are chosen by the United States President after they hear the recommendations from the DC Judicial Nomination Commission. After which, the justices must be approved by the United States Senate.

All of the cases will start in the DC Superior Court. If there are any appeals from the parties involved, that case will move to the DC Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals can't preside over any of the trials. Instead, it simply listens to the given evidence and checks the rulings of the Superior Court.

If you want to learn more about the court records in DC, you have plenty of resources available to you. You could always go in-person, but this method isn't convenient for many. You should check out the online services that the area has to offer. We recommend that you visit the DC Superior Court Online Case Search page. The site makes it easy to find the court records that you need using a system called eAccess. You're sure to find the proper documents there.

What trial courts are in Washington DC?

The only local trial courts in Washington DC are the DC Superior Courts. The other court, the Appeals Court, is the court of last resort. However, within the DC Superior Court, you will find several different divisions that have varying jurisdictions over cases. These include:

  • Civil Division
  • Criminal Division
  • Domestic Violence Division
  • Family Court
  • Probates and Wills
  • Tax Division

Civil Division

The Civil Division has jurisdiction over most cases, unless the Federal Court has jurisdiction instead. The court handles cases that involve debt collection, contract or property disputes, class action cases, complaints against the city, and torts. In many situations, your cases will go through the Civil Division of the DC Superior Court.

Criminal Division

The Criminal Division of the DC Superior Court hears all criminal cases. The division is there to enforce all of the laws. The system works by bringing up charges against the person who's suspected to have committed the crime. The court acts based on the evidence that they review.

Domestic Violence Division

The Domestic Violence Division covers a wider range of cases involving domestic situations. The court can establish Civil Protection Orders, Extreme Risk Protection Orders, and more. They have jurisdiction over all misdemeanor and criminal cases that have to do with inner family offenses. If you have questions, you'll want to reach out to the court through this page.

Family Court

The Family Social Services Court has many responsibilities involving minors. This includes a variety of juvenile court cases. They have jurisdiction over all of the following types of cases:

  • Arrested juveniles
  • Juvenile delinquency cases
  • Truancy cases
  • Probation
  • Persons In Need of Supervision
  • Diversion cases

The court also features the Delinquency Prevention Unit. The unit tracks juveniles to ensure they're acting within their Court-ordered mandates and curfews. The main goal of the unit is to get the juveniles back on track and ensure they're where they're supposed to be.

Probates and Wills

This division handles all estate and will-related matters after there's a death. They also handle various other aspects that are linked to the deceased person. The court is there to enact the wishes of the deceased.

Tax Division

This division handles all general tax matters. They also receive petitions to review the DC tax assessments or penalties assigned by the District of Columbia. The division also handles various trials where tax issues are involved. You can file a tax petition through their website.

What are the federal district courts in Washington DC?

There's one federal district court in DC- the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Any appeals from this court for the DC Court of Appeals. The district court judges are elected for four year terms. After which, they must be re-elected to hold the position once again.

How to find electronic Court Records in Washington DC?

If you want to search for cases online, you should visit the official search page. The website allows you to access documents from both the Court of Appeals and the Superior Court. There may be a small fee associated with your inquiry.