District Court will provide access and services to all court users in a fair, consistent and timely manner.
District Courts have exclusive jurisdiction of all civil litigation up to $25,000 and also handle garnishments, eviction proceedings, land contract forfeitures, civil infraction, and other proceedings. For criminal cases, the district court conducts preliminary examinations in felony cases and handle all misdemeanors where punishment does not exceed one year in jail including arraignment, sentence, and setting and acceptance of bail.
District judges may appoint magistrates. The magistrates may set bail and accept bonds in criminal matters, accept guilty pleas, sentence for traffic, motor carrier, dog, game, snowmobile and boat law violations, and issue arrest and search warrants. Attorney magistrates may hear small claims cases. Magistrates may, at the direction of the Chief Judge, perform other duties allowed by statute.
A small claims division for civil cases up to $5,000 is provided in district court. In these cases litigants agree to waive their right to a jury, rules of evidence, representation by a lawyer, and the right to appeal from the district judge's decision. If either party objects, the case will be heard by the general civil division of the district court.
District judges are elected for six-year terms on non-partisan ballots, under the same requirements as circuit judges.