Northern Kentucky is typically known as Boone, Kenton and Campbell Counties.  Occasionally Gallatin, Grant and Pendleton are also included in a broader definition of "northern Kentucky."

The state court system in Kentucky is divided into District and Circuit Courts.

DISTRICT COURT. The District Courts handle all misdemeanors, traffic offenses, DUI charges and the large majority of juvenile offenses.  Additionally, if the defendant is charged with a felony, their first appearance will be in the District Court for initial arrangement and a preliminary hearing.

If the case proceeds, there is generally an arraignment and then likely a pretrial hearing.  The pretrial is to assure that all discovery has been turned over to the defense and to allow for time to discuss any potential plea negotiations.  Once the pretrial is complete, the case may be set for a suppression hearing or trial.  A defendant facing a jail sentence is entitled to a jury trial, which consists of 6 jurors in District Court.

CIRCUIT COURT. The Circuit Courts handle all felony cases after they have been indicted by the Grand Jury. Following a preliminary hearing in District Court, the case is bound over to the Grand Jury for further consideration.  If the Grand Jury chooses to indicte on felony charges, the defendant will then appear for all future court dates before the Circuit Court.

The Circuit Courts will have an initial appearance, or arraignment.  Some judges will set the case for a trial date, while the majority will first require a pretrial hearing.  Similary to the District pretrial, the date is to ensure that discovery has been exchanged and that the Commonwealth (prosecutor) has extended an offer for recommendation on a plea of guilty.  Often, the defense attorney and prosecutor will have ongoing plea negotiations prior to a pretrial hearing.

If the case is not settled, there may be any number of pretrial motions.  Following those motions, the case may be set for a trial. Nearly all felony trials are before a 12 person jury.

If you have been charged with a crime in Northern Kentucky, you should seek advice of a local attorney before proceeding to court.

Boone County Courthouse is located at 6025 Rogers Ln., Burlington, KY 41005.

Campbell County Courthouse is located at 330 York St., Newport, KY 41071.

Kenton County Courthouse is located at 230 Madison Ave., Covington, KY 41011.