The Georgia court system features 5 classes of trial-level courts. These classes are magistrate, probate, juvenile, state and superior courts. Moreover, there are around 350 municipal courts that are operating on a local basis and two appellate-level courts, which are the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals. You should be able to find a detailed illustration of the Georgia court system in the form of a diagram at this link http://www.georgiacourts.org/georgia-courts?menu=main.
If you are searching for information on trial courts of limited jurisdiction, you should know that the magistrate’s court for instance refers to a county court that issues warrants of arrest. This court also conducts hearings of criminal cases and also civil claims up to the maximum sum of $15,000. Chief magistrates are determined by the local law office and therefore they are not elected or appointed. Other magistrates can be appointed by the chief magistrate. This court is also where civil arguments are conducted. Preliminary hearings are held for criminal cases; the judge will issue search warrants and arrest warrants, if required. They are also entitled to set bail for defendants.
Probate courts decide the involuntary hospitalization of incapacitated adults or appoint legal guardians and issue marriage licenses or licenses for keeping guns. Those Georgian counties where no state court exists, the probate judge will hear traffic violations, misdemeanors or citations regarding the state game and fish laws. These judges are able to make appointments to local public offices and if the population exceeds 96,000, the probate judge has to be a licensed attorney having practiced for at least 7 years.
Juvenile courts focus on cases where deprived or neglected children who are under the age of 18 are involved. They also handle cases where delinquent and unruly offenses have been committed by children who are less than 17 and they also address cases concerning traffic violations committed by minors. The court hears cases revolving around consent to marriage for minor or the enlistment of minors in the military and others. The judges here are appointed by agreement of the superior court judges, every 4 years.
The state court has limited jurisdiction within certain counties. It handles misdemeanors such as traffic violations and it issues search and arrest warrants. It also holds preliminary hearings where criminal acts have occurred and it is organized by the local legislation. The judges here are elected for a 4-year term.
The municipal court is part of cities and towns in Georgia and its job is to handle traffic offenses and also local ordinance violations. It can also complete preliminary hearings and of course issue warrants. The municipal court judges are usually appointed by the mayor, and some of them are elected. Georgia hosts no less than 350 municipal courts.
The superior court has both civil and criminal cases to handle and its judges preside over felony trials. Georgia is currently hosting 49 superior courts which are made up of one or several counties. Each of these courts or court circuits is being led by a senior court judge. There are a number of judges who have been authorized by the General Assembly. There are special conditions that a potential judge needs to respect in order to rule over a superior court: he or she needs to have practiced for at least 7 years, to be a resident of the state for at least 3 years and to be at least 30 years of age.
The Court of Appeals is the court that usually reviews many civil and criminal cases that have already been heard by the trial courts and these reviews can correct legal errors or errors of law. This court has 12 judges assigned 1 to 4 panels made up of 3 judges each. Those cases that have already been assigned to a panel which will be reviewed by the judges; transcripts and portions of records will also be listened and panels will also hear verbal arguments in some cases.