Washington County is part of Utah’s Fifth Judicial District. St. George is the largest city in the county, and home to both the St. George District Court and the Washington County Justice Court.
These two courts in St. George handle the majority of criminal cases in Washington County. City justice courts are also located in Hurricane, Santa Clara, Washington City, Enterprise, and Hilldale.
Will my case be filed in district court or justice court?
The St. George District Court is considered to be a court of general jurisdiction – meaning that it has authority to handle criminal charges ranging from minor misdemeanors to the most serious felony charges on the books in Utah. All cases involving a felony or class A misdemeanor must be filed in the district court. Class B and class C misdemeanors are usually only handled in the district court if the case also involves a higher-level charge.
Justice courts in Utah are restricted to hearing only cases involving class B and class C misdemeanor charges, or infractions. The most serious class B misdemeanors commonly filed in justice courts include DUI and domestic violence. Other common class B and class C misdemeanors include retail theft, drug paraphernalia, open container (alcohol), minor in possession of alcohol, and non-DV assault.
How do I know which court is handling my case?
St. George has the only district court in Washington County, Utah. So any felony or class A charge will be handled in that court, along with any class B or class C misdemeanor charge arising from the same incident (“same criminal episode”).
With the exception of the Washington County Justice Court, all other justice courts in the county have limited jurisdiction for handling criminal cases only if the incident occurs within the city limits of the city that operates the justice court.
The best way to find out information about your criminal court case is to speak with a criminal defense attorney.
Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney for St. George
Navigating Utah’s criminal justice system can be a daunting task. Having an experienced attorney as a guide and protector is invaluable.