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Finding Court Records in Arkansas

Arkansas Courts Overview

It helps to understand how the Arkansas state court system works when you’re trying to find court records. 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.

If you prefer, you can start your search by going to Arkansas courts by county.

Arkansas Circuit Courts

Circuit Courts have general jurisdiction over all civil cases for claims over $100, and all 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.

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.

Arkansas District Courts

District Courts have jurisdiction over certain types of civil and criminal cases. District Courts may be State District Courts or Local District Courts.

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.

Where to Find Court Cases in Arkansas

The chart below gives general information on the types of cases heard in each type of Arkansas court.

Most Cases = Most or all cases.     Some Cases = Some cases.

Case Type Court Type
Civil Circuit Courts District Courts
General Civil - Unlimited Most or All Cases  
General Civil - Limited Some Cases Most or All Cases
Small Claims   Most or All Cases
Civil Equity Most or All Cases  
Complex Commercial Most or All Cases  
Foreclosures and Liens Most or All Cases Some Cases
Real Estate Title and Boundary Most or All Cases  
Landlord / Tenant Most or All Cases Some Cases
Ordinance Violations   Some Cases
Protection, No Contact, and Restraining Orders Most or All Cases Some Cases
Administrative Agency Appeals Most or All Cases  
Criminal Circuit Courts District Courts
Felony Most or All Cases  
Felony Preliminary Hearings Some Cases Some Cases
Misdemeanors Some Cases Some Cases
Ordinance Violations   Most or All Cases
Juvenile Most or All Cases  
Traffic and Infractions   Most or All Cases
Domestic Relations Circuit Courts District Courts
Divorce Most or All Cases Some Cases
Child Custody and Visitation Most or All Cases Some Cases
Child Support Most or All Cases Some Cases
Paternity Most or All Cases Some Cases
Domestic Violence Protection Order Most or All Cases Some Cases
Juvenile Circuit Courts District Courts
Adoptions Most or All Cases  
Juvenile Delinquency Most or All Cases  
Child Abuse and Neglect Most or All Cases  
Termination of Parental Rights Most or All Cases  
Children in Need of Supervision Most or All Cases  
Mental Health Circuit Courts District Courts
Involuntary Commitments Most or All Cases  
Other Mental Health Cases Most or All Cases  
Probate Circuit Courts District Courts
Wills & Estates Most or All Cases Some Cases
Name Changes Most or All Cases Some Cases
Trusts Most or All Cases Some Cases
Guardianships and Conservatorships Most or All Cases Some Cases

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