Criminal District Court matters:
The Madison County District Court's are responsible for resolving misdemeanor and traffic offenses occurring within County limits.
District courts do not have jury trials; the judge determines guilt or innocence based on the evidence presented. The range of punishment for cases tried before the District Court does not exceed one year in jail or more than a $6000 fine.
The Madison County district courts are also responsible for the initial stages of felony criminal cases. In Alabama, a felony case is any charge for which lowest sentence is one year and one day in prison. The maximum punishment on felony cases is either life without parole or in extreme cases, the death penalty. In a felony case, the District Court addresses issues such as whether an accused person will have a lawyer appointed or whether they choose to retain their own attorney. District court also addresses issues of bond and conducts preliminary hearings which are hearings in which the judge determines whether or not there is sufficient evidence to allow the charges to move forward to the next stage of the proceedings. If the judge finds there sufficient evidence then, in most instances, the case will be presented to the Madison County grand jury. If the grand jury finds sufficient evidence for a charge, they will issue an indictment. An indictment is a formal accusation against a person accusing them of having committed a specific crime. If the grand jury does not find sufficient grounds to charge the case will be "no billed" and the charges will be dropped.
With the exception of a death penalty case, a District Court is permitted to accept a guilty plea in a felony case. Typically this occurs when a person accused of a felony notifies the court that he wishes to plead guilty and is willing to waive his case being presented to the grand jury. When this happens, a prosecutor prepares a document called "an information" which essentially says that the prosecutor has information that the accused person has committed a crime and that they wish to enter a guilty plea to the crime they are accused of.
Civil District Court cases:
The Madison County District Court's may resolve civil matters in which the amount in controversy does not exceed $10,000; they have exclusive jurisdiction over all civil matters in which the matter in controversy does not exceed $3000. The District Court is responsible for resolving civil based upon unlawful detainer.
The Madison County District courts have exclusive jurisdiction in juvenile court proceedings concerning cases in which a child is alleged to have committed a delinquent act-this is usually on act that would result in criminal charges if it was committed by an adult. These courts also resolve issues regarding to juveniles in need of supervision and issues regarding dependent children. In Madison County, there is a juvenile court referee that will handle various juvenile matters and child-support matters and these cases can, if necessary, be appealed to a District Court judge.
Contacting the District Court by phone:
Criminal Court Division: (256) 532-3373
District Civil/SmallCourt Division: (Court: (256) 532-3622
Juvenile Court Clerk Division (256) 532-3695
The court is located on 100 Northside Sq., Madison County, AL 35801
If you need help finding your case and when it is scheduled you may click on the link below:
- Be sure that you do not bring any weapons or any illegal substances into the courthouse. You will be required to go through a metal detector and you are subject to search. Should you have anything illegal. It could result in criminal charges.
- You should arrive at minimum 15 minutes early to allow time to find your correct courtroom and to enter the building.
- If you are unsure what courtroom were to go to you may ask the guard or someone at the information kiosk. The names of the judges and other courthouse offices and locations are listed on a directory by the elevators.