Arkansas also has District Courts of limited jurisdiction. These courts are split into two types: State District Courts and Local District Courts. The District Courts are overseen by The Arkansas District Judges Council that is made up of judges from each District Court. This council is headed by Hon. Alice Lightle, Criminal Division judge of the Little Rock District Court. Additionally, The Arkansas District Court Clerks' Association supports District Courts and provides certification each year. This organization is headed up by Debbie Drake, Chief of Clerk of the Jefferson County District Court, Pine Bluff Department.
For the last year calculated, District Courts totaled 1,035,013 filings. Of that, 982,817 were for criminal and local ordinance violations. The breakdown equals 312,070 for traffic violations, 122,987 misdemeanors, 15,299 DWIs, and 49,114 for local ordinance violations. For that same year, 52,196 civil cases were filed.
There are 37 State District Courts within 166 divisions. Fifty-four judges serve in these courts and are elected for four-year terms. District Court judges work full-time. These courts only review small civil cases up to $25,000, criminal cases and small claims. They receive cases that are referred from the Circuit Court. The types of cases that come into State District Court are traffic violations, contract cases, damage to personal property, misdemeanors and violations of local and state laws.
Arkansas has 35 Local District Courts with 73 different departments served by 37 part-time judges (some also practice law), each with a four-year term. Local District Courts see only small civil and criminal cases along with small claims. Local District Courts have territorial jurisdiction (usually for a single county), and they focus on misdemeanors and local ordinances violations. These courts can also hear preliminary felony cases, personal property cases of less than $5,000, contract cases and small claims.