Frequently Asked Questions

Circuit Court for Dorchester County

What kind of cases does the Circuit Court for Dorchester County hear?

Generally handles more serious criminal cases, major civil cases, including juvenile and other family law cases such as divorce, custody and child support and most cases appealed from the District Court, orphans’ courts and certain administrative agencies. Circuit courts also hear domestic violence cases. Each County and the City of Baltimore has a circuit court. Cases may involve juries or sometimes are heard by a judge only.

More information about circuit courts:

If I have a traffic ticket, where should I go?

You have three options in District Court when confronted with a payable traffic citation paying the fine, appearing for trial, or pleading “guilty with an explanation” and appearing for a hearing. If you choose not to pay the fine, you will be required to appear in person to dispose of your case. See /legalhelp/traffic.html

Who do I contact about jury duty?

Please call 410-228-9840 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. You may leave a message (include your name, phone number, and reason for calling) and your call will be returned. See Jury Service for more information.

Does the court offer legal services for self-represented litigants?

The Court offers a Family Law Assistance Clinic at the Courthouse in the Jury Assembly Room every Monday between the hours of 12:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. and Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. -12:30 p.m. A family law attorney is available for a free consultation to complete the State domestic relations forms and provide information about how litigants can represent themselves in custody, divorce, child support, name change and visitation matters. The attorney does not represent you in court. Consultations are available on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, call (410) 228-1395. See Family Services for more information.

How can I learn more about MDEC and efiling?

Dorchester is an MDEC jurisdiction. The courts in the lower eastern shore went live with MDEC on December 12, 2016.  See for more information.

How can I get a copy of a transcript and how much does it cost?

Requesting a transcript does not obligate you to purchase it. You will be called with an estimate of cost before any work is performed.

Audio recordings of court proceedings can be produced upon written request for $25.00 per CD. CDs are made from the original master recording and duplication is strictly prohibited. Please note that CDs are for personal use only, and may not be used as the official court record in place of a transcript, without an Order of the Court. See Transcripts for more information.

Are there any items I cannot bring into the courthouse?

To ensure the safety of those who conduct business or work in the courthouse, the Court has adopted security measures as described in Administrative Order 2010-01. The unauthorized use of electronic devices may interfere with the efficient administration of justice, impair the safety and welfare of visitors and staff and have a negative impact on the Court’s security plan. Permissible use of electronic devices and prohibited items are listed in the notice. See Court Screening for more information.

Is public transportation available to get to and from the courthouse?

Public transportation is available through Delmarva Community Transit. There is a bus stop next to the Courthouse on Spring Street.

Where do I get a marriage license?

Marriage licenses can be obtained at the Clerk’s Office, located in the courthouse at 206 High Street in Cambridge. The application process takes about 15 minutes. See Marriage Licenses for more information.

Why are juvenile court proceedings handled differently?

The goal of Juvenile Court is to give children and parents the treatment and resources they need to stop cycles of delinquent behavior, to end abuse and neglect, and provide care so that the children have the opportunity to become productive citizens, rather than graduate to adult criminal court or suffer chronic, life-threatening abuse or neglect. See Juvenile Court in Maryland. Dorchester also has a Truancy Reduction program.