Wyoming's Circuit Courts are the limited jurisdiction courts for the state. They are organized the same way District Courts are and cover the nine judicial districts with one Circuit Court in each of the 23 counties of the state. These courts can resolve both minor criminal and civil cases.
Circuit Courts process small claims and civil cases of $50,000 or less. These courts can also handle domestic violence cases, stalking, sexual assault issues, forcible entry, and detainer cases. Additionally, they hear tort cases, misdemeanor cases, hold preliminary hearings for felonies, and process a lot of traffic violations. These courts can also set bail. They work closely with Municipal Courts, and a case can be handed over to Circuit Courts for ordinance violations if the Municipal Court wants that.
The Governor appoints Wyoming's Circuit Court judges after selecting one from a choice of three nominated by the Judicial Nominating Commission. They serve four-year terms and must be licensed attorneys before becoming a judge. They work full-time. Some request hiring a magistrate to help assist them with their duties. If no judge resides within a county, a full-time magistrate may be appointed to sit in. There are full-time magistrates in Big Horn, Hot Springs, Johnson, Niobrara, Platte, and Weston counties. However, a magistrate’s power is limited, whereas a judge's is not. Circuit Court judges also perform special judicial duties for District Courts from time to time.
On average Circuit Courts see about 174,029 cases per year. The vast majority of them are for traffic violations and parking tickets. Patrons of the court can log onto the Wyoming Judicial Branch website and pay tickets online through their partnership with a third-party vendor. Additionally, there are court forms available on the site and other resources and support for residents.