Arkansas’ Circuit Courts are the general jurisdiction trial courts for the state. In January of 2002, the state divided up the Circuit Courts into five divisions to handle specific matters. Those divisions consist of criminal, civil, probate, domestic relations, and juvenile cases. Their website contains a list of the all the Circuit Courts and their divisions on their website called the Judicial Directory.
The Circuit Courts are further divided into 28 circuits with 121 judges presiding. Each judge is chosen in a nonpartisan election. Their terms are good for six years. To qualify to be a Circuit Court judge, someone must be a licensed attorney for six years prior to being elected a judge.
Arkansas Circuit Courts handle cases like misdemeanors, felonies, serious traffic violations, wills, and estate issues, marriages and divorces, along with custody, guardianship, real property issues, and juvenile delinquency matters.
Cases filed in Circuit Courts average 186,602 annually. The courts count criminal and juvenile delinquency cases as a single filing (regardless of the number of charges). Of that annual total, criminal cases average 53,803. Within those cases, approximately 105,234 total charges are recorded. Arkansas averages a clearance rate of 89% for all cases. For the last year tallied, Arkansas Circuit Courts totaled 40,993 for civil cases, 53,803 criminal cases, 49,431 domestic relations cases, 22,248 juvenile cases, and 20,127 probate cases.
Arkansas Circuit Courts have links to multiple PDFs on their website that detail court filing fees, information about each division’s judges, links to other related sites and a charter for each of the twenty-eight circuits. These courts also allow public access to court documents through their AOC PUBLIC CourtConnect website where users can search court records quickly and easily. Not all Circuit Court records are available, but most circuits do contribute their documents and filings.