Indiana’s Superior and Circuit Courts are the general jurisdiction courts in the state, and they work together to form the main trial courts. The state of Indiana is divided up into 91 judicial districts that Circuit Courts serve. Only Ohio and Dearborn counties share a Circuit Court and judge. Circuit Courts employ 115 judges to resolve matters brought to each district. Circuit Courts have concurrent jurisdiction for the region and appellate jurisdiction over Town and City Courts.
Circuit Court judges are elected into office by voters of the district, and they serve six-year terms. The types of cases that are processed through Circuit Courts are small claims up to $6,000, probate, mental health cases, real property, tort and criminal cases along with traffic violations and domestic relations. Many of these cases use a trial by jury, and a judge decides others. The state also has more than 100 problem-solving courts for things like juvenile delinquency, DUIs, and drug addiction.
Indiana’s Judiciary Branch website is packed with information on how the court system works and helpful resources for patrons of the system. They have a section with downloadable forms for self-represented issues along with guides, videos, and handbooks on many of the most common legal topics. They also have an area where people can pay traffic tickets and other fines online as well as e-file documents for their case. They even have a section where the general public can search for cases and lookup sex offenders, child abusers and other information on cases in the system.
The majority of criminal cases filed in Circuit Courts are misdemeanors, and 22% are for felonies. For civil violation cases, the majority (93%) are for minor infractions. In terms of civil suits, most (35%) are for small claims.