The state court system in Georgia was established by a 1970 legislative act that designated certain existing countywide courts of limited jurisdiction as state courts. State courts may exercise jurisdiction over all misdemeanor violations, including traffic cases, and all civil actions, regardless of the amount claimed, unless the superior court has exclusive jurisdiction.
State courts are authorized to have hearings on applications for an issuance of search and arrest warrants and to have preliminary hearings. The Georgia Constitution grants state courts authority to review lower court decisions as provided by statute.
The General Assembly creates state courts by local legislation. Legislation also establishes the number of judges and whether the judges are to be full or part-time. Part-time judges may practice law, except in their own courts.
State court judges are elected to four-year terms in nonpartisan, countywide elections. Candidates must be at least 25 years old, have been admitted to practice law for at least seven years, and have lived in the state for at least three years.