Last updated: September 26, 2013
Pittsburgh is big. As home to about 2.5 million residents, Pittsburgh is one of the industrial centers of the world. Deeply rooted in history and tradition, "Steel City" sparked the industrial revolution and continues to drive the economy as headquarters for many multinational corporations. However, locals know you have not truly experienced Pittsburgh traditions until you watch the legendary Steelers firsthand at Heinz Field
The Pennsylvania Court system consists of interconnected levels of courthouses that handle different aspects of the legal system or areas of the law. The Courts of Common Pleas are Pennsylvania's courts of general trial jurisdiction, and handle major criminal and civil cases. The Superior Court and the Supreme Court handle appeals in criminal and civil cases. Knowing which court is appropriate for your particular issue is critical to your success, so here is a useful guide to some of the key courthouses in Pittsburgh.
Good to know: The historic Allegheny County Courthouse is the primary trial courthouse in Pittsburgh. It handles all levels of criminal prosecution, civil lawsuits and family law issues here. All court fines and fees can be paid online using the Pennsylvania Judicial System's ePay service. There is usually plenty of parking on Forbes St., just west of Grant.
Good to know: The Municipal Court is located inside the City Courts Building. They handle traffic infractions, misdemeanors and preliminary hearings for felony criminal cases. Instead of traveling to the court to pay the fine for your citation, try paying online instead.
Good to know: The Family Division consists of two major branches: the Juvenile Court and Domestic Relations. The Domestic Relations branch deals with paternity, support, custody, visitation and divorce, while the juvenile court deals with juvenile delinquency or abuse.
Good to know: The Juvenile Branch of the Family Division handles cases involving juvenile delinquency where minors have been accused of crimes, dependency cases arising from allegations of neglect or abuse, truancy petitions and adoptions.
Good to know: The City-County Building serves as the City Hall for Pittsburgh. While it is not a courthouse it still serves vital functions in Pittsburgh governance. The City-County Building houses offices for the Mayor, city council, and various departments of the city government.
Good to know: The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania handles federal law matters only. The Western District of Pennsylvania sits within the Third Circuit, and federal appeals are handled in Philadelphia. Make sure you bring a photo ID if you want to get inside. Here is a helpful list of forms for many common legal actions.