The Supreme Court is the trial court of unlimited original jurisdiction; but generally hears cases that are outside the jurisdiction of other trial courts of more limited jurisdiction.
The County Court is established in each county outside New York City. It is authorized to handle the prosecution of all crimes committed within the County. The County Court also has limited jurisdiction in civil cases involving amounts up to $25,000.
City Courts outside New York City exist in 61 cities and have criminal jurisdiction over misdemeanors and lesser offenses, and civil jurisdiction over claims of up to $15,000. Some City Courts have separate parts to handle small claims (up to $5,000), or housing matters. City Court judges act as arraigning magistrates and conduct preliminary hearings in felony cases.
District Courts exist in Nassau County and in the five western towns of Suffolk County. District Courts have criminal jurisdiction over misdemeanors and lesser offenses, and also conduct arraignments in felony cases. They have civil jurisdiction over claims of up to $15,000 and small claims matters not in excess of $5,000.
Town and Village Courts have criminal jurisdiction over violations and misdemeanors, and civil jurisdiction over claims of up to $3,000. As magistrates, Town and Village Court justices hold arraignments and preliminary hearings for those charged with more serious crimes. Traffic infractions also are heard in these courts.