Overview of Arkansas Courts
In order to find Arkansas court records, it's helpful to understand how the state court system works. Each state varies and we've compiled this information to help your search. You can also start your search by going directly to courts by county.
The Arkansas trial court system consists of Circuit Courts and District 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 have limited jurisdiction to handle certain types of civil and criminal cases.
Criminal cases heard by Circuit Courts include felonies, some misdemeanors, and lesser-included offenses.
Circuit Courts share jurisdiction with State District Courts over civil claims up to $25,000, and with Local District Courts over civil claims up to $5,000. Circuit Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over civil equity claims.
Circuit Courts also handle domestic relations, juvenile, probate, and mental health cases; case types include divorce, child abuse and neglect, guardianships, civil commitments, and the administration of estates.
Circuit Courts may refer certain types of civil and criminal cases to State District Courts, although referral of most civil, domestic relations, and probate cases requires the consent of all parties.
Criminal cases heard by both types of District Courts include most types of misdemeanors and preliminary hearings for all types of criminal cases. District Courts also handle traffic cases and local ordinance violations.
District Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over civil claims of $100 or less. State District Courts share jurisdiction with Circuit Courts over civil claims between $100 and $25,000. Local District Court share jurisdiction with Circuit Courts over civil claims between $100 and $5,000.
State District Courts may also have certain types of civil and criminal cases referred by Circuit Court, although referral of most civil, domestic relations, and probate cases requires the consent of all parties.
Each District Court has a Small Claims division for most general civil claims for less than $5000.
|Case Type||Court Type|
|Civil||Circuit Courts||District Courts|
|General Civil - Unlimited|
|General Civil - Limited|
|Foreclosures and Liens|
|Real Estate Title and Boundary|
|Landlord / Tenant|
|Protection, No Contact, and Restraining Orders|
|Administrative Agency Appeals|
|Criminal||Circuit Courts||District Courts|
|Felony Preliminary Hearings|
|Traffic and Infractions|
|Domestic Relations||Circuit Courts||District Courts|
|Child Custody and Visitation|
|Domestic Violence Protection Order|
|Juvenile||Circuit Courts||District Courts|
|Child Abuse and Neglect|
|Termination of Parental Rights|
|Children in Need of Supervision|
|Mental Health||Circuit Courts||District Courts|
|Other Mental Health Cases|
|Probate||Circuit Courts||District Courts|
|Wills & Estates|
|Guardianships and Conservatorships|