Alabama's trial courts of general jurisdiction are the Circuit Courts. This court hears all civil matters where the amount in controversy exceeds $20,000, all criminal prosecutions involving felony offenses, and family court matters. The Circuit Court has concurrent jurisdiction with the District Court in all civil matters where the amount in controversy exceeds $6,000 but does not exceed $20,000, exclusive of interest and costs. Additionally, the Circuit Court exercises appellate jurisdiction over cases appealed from District Court, Probate Court, Covington County's Municipal Courts, and certain administrative and Municipal Boards.
Alabama's District Courts, generally, have original jurisdiction over criminal misdemeanors, hold preliminary hearings in felony prosecutions, and can receive guilty pleas in felony cases not punishable by death. The District Judge exercises concurrent jurisdiction with the Circuit Court in juvenile matters and in civil actions where the amount in controversy does not exceed $20,000; furthermore, the District Judge has exclusive jurisdiction over all civil actions where the amount in controversy, exclusive of interest and costs, does not exceed $6,000, which are considered "small claims cases."