Few Arkansans will ever enter the doors of a circuit court and fewer still will find themselves in the Supreme Court or Court of Appeals. It is fairly likely, however, that many Arkansans will, at some point, come into contact with district courts. For this reason, these courts may be the most important part of our judicial system. These courts are primarily funded by local and county governments and the amount of support given to any particular court varies tremendously from one area of the state to the next.
Arkansas District Courts, formerly known as municipal courts before the passage of Amendment 80 to the Arkansas Constitution, have county-wide jurisdiction over traffic cases, misdemeanor cases, preliminary felony cases, and civil cases in matters of less than $5,000. Additionally, a small claims division of district court provides a forum in which citizens represent themselves to resolve minor civil matters. There are 230 district courts and departments in Arkansas, served by 109 district court judges.