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The United States court system is made up of several court systems: a federal system and 50 state systems. Each has its own organization and processes. All are multi-tiered. Usually, legal cases begin in a lower court and sometimes work their way up to a higher court. A percentage of cases initiated in a state court system may end up in the federal court system. Most States have two levels of trial courts:
1) Trial courts with limited jurisdiction —which can include municipal courts, magistrate courts, and lower county courts which hear minor criminal cases and traffic violations; and
2) Courts of general jurisdiction include circuit courts, superior courts, district courts, or courts of common pleas, depending on your state —which hear lawsuits that involve greater amounts of money or more serious types of crimes than the cases heard in trial courts of limited jurisdiction. Read the full article