The Arkansas trial court system consists of Circuit Courts, District Courts, and City Courts.
Circuit Courts have general jurisdiction over all criminal and civil cases, but generally only handle cases beyond the jurisdiction of other courts. District Courts and City Courts have limited jurisdiction to handle certain types of civil and criminal cases.
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Arkansas Circuit CourtsCircuit Courts have general jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases, but typically only handle cases that are beyond the limited jurisdiction of other courts.
Criminal cases heard by Circuit Courts include felonies, some misdemeanors and lesser-included offenses.
Civil cases heard by Circuit Courts include general civil claims for more than $5000 and civil equity claims.
Circuit Courts also handle domestic relations, juvenile, probate and mental health cases, including divorce, child abuse and neglect, guardianships, civil commitments and the administration of estates.
Arkansas District CourtsDistrict Courts have jurisdiction over certain types of civil and criminal cases.
Criminal cases heard by District Courts include most types of misdemeanors and preliminary hearings for all types of criminal cases. Little Rock District Court has a Traffic Court division that handles all traffic offenses committed within city limits. In areas without District Courts, a City Court may handle misdemeanors and preliminary hearings.
Each District Court has a Small Claims division for most general civil claims for less than $5000.
Arkansas City CourtsCity Courts have similar jurisdiction to District Courts, including misdemeanor criminal cases and felony preliminary hearings, but likely do not offer a Small Claims division.
City Courts operate in less-populated areas that are not served by District Courts.
Where to find court cases in ArkansasThe chart below gives general information on the types of cases heard in each type of court in Arkansas.