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Arkansas Court Records

Arkansas Court Records serve as a comprehensive repository of legal information, providing a valuable resource for individuals seeking to understand the state's judicial system. Local, county, state, and federal judicial bodies within the Arkansas justice system generate these records during legal proceedings.

An Arkansas Court record contains a wealth of information, from basic case details to intricate legal arguments and judgments. They typically include the names of the parties involved in a case, the nature of the legal dispute, important dates, court orders, and transcripts of proceedings.

Additionally, they may include supporting documentation such as affidavits, exhibits, and expert reports. The records also encompass decisions rendered by judges or juries, providing an essential historical record of legal outcomes and precedents.

Court records serve as a vital resource for various stakeholders. Attorneys and legal professionals rely on them to conduct thorough research, examine past cases, and build legal arguments. Journalists and researchers can analyze court records to uncover trends, investigate legal issues, and shed light on matters of public interest.

Public members can also access these records to understand the outcomes of cases, follow high-profile trials, or gather information on legal matters that impact their lives.

By making these records publicly accessible, Arkansas adheres to the principle that justice should be open and visible to all.

The Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) governs the disclosure of court records. It grants individuals the authority to inspect, copy, and request copies of court records, subject to certain limitations to protect privacy, ongoing investigations, and other legal exceptions.

Which Arkansas Courts Maintain Publicly Accessible Records?

Understanding the state court system is paramount to quickly navigating the Arkansas Court Records search. Familiarizing oneself with the various courts in Arkansas enables one to discern which specific court oversees a particular case and where to locate the corresponding court records.

In the realm of publicly accessible court records in Arkansas, the trial court system emerges as the primary custodian, which consists of Circuit Courts and District Courts.

Arkansas Circuit Courts

Arkansas Circuit Courts, holding broad authority, preside over various legal matters in Arkansas. With general jurisdiction over civil cases with claims of more than $100 and all criminal cases, they mainly handle cases outside the narrow jurisdiction of other courts.

In civil claims, these courts share jurisdiction with State District Courts for claims up to $25,000 and with Local District Courts for claims up to $5,000. However, Circuit Courts have exclusive authority over civil equity claims.

Regarding criminal cases, Circuit Courts address felonies, certain misdemeanors, and lesser-included offenses.

Circuit Courts also preside over domestic relations, probate, juvenile, and mental health cases. This diverse range of matters includes divorce proceedings, guardianships, the administration of estates, civil commitments, and child abuse and neglect cases.

While Circuit Courts have the power to refer specific civil and criminal cases to State District Courts, such referrals typically necessitate the consent of all parties. It ensures that the parties unanimously agree upon essential decisions regarding the referral of civil, probate, and domestic relations cases.

 Arkansas District Courts

District Courts in Arkansas, comprising Local District Courts and State District Courts, wield jurisdiction over specific categories of civil and criminal cases in Arkansas.

Local District Courts share jurisdiction with Circuit Courts for civil claims spanning $100 to $5,000. On the other hand, State District Courts share jurisdiction with Circuit Courts for civil claims ranging from $100 to $25,000. This distribution of jurisdiction ensures that cases are appropriately assigned based on their financial implications.

In addition, each District Court boasts a Small Claims division, primarily catering to general civil claims not exceeding $5,000 in value. This specialized division within the District Courts system focuses on expeditiously resolving smaller-scale civil disputes.

In criminal proceedings, State District Courts and Local District Courts oversee a broad range of criminal cases, including most misdemeanors and preliminary hearings for all types of criminal cases. Additionally, these courts handle traffic cases and violations of local ordinances.

Arkansas Appellate Courts

In addition to the trial courts, the court system in Arkansas encompasses the Appellate Courts, namely the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals. These higher courts play a crucial role in upholding the principles of fairness and thoroughness within the judicial process by allowing individuals to challenge decisions rendered by the lower trial courts.

The Appellate Courts serve as an avenue for review, where parties dissatisfied with the outcomes or legal interpretations in their cases can seek a second opinion. This crucial aspect of the justice system ensures that errors or potential miscarriages can be rectified.

Furthermore, the Appellate Courts in Arkansas are responsible for managing certain court records in the state. These courts can access relevant trial court records and documentation in their appellate jurisdiction.

It allows them to thoroughly examine the legal arguments, evidence, and procedural aspects of cases before them, ensuring a comprehensive review process.

What are the Common Public Court Records in Arkansas?

As part of their unwavering commitment to transparency and facilitating access to justice, the courts in Arkansas diligently make the following commonly requested types of court records available upon request:

Arkansas Civil and Small Claims Records

Arkansas Civil Court Records and Arkansas Small Claims Court Records are two types of legal records in the state that differ in terms of monetary limits, proceedings, types of cases involved, and the courts that handle them.

Civil court records in Arkansas typically involve cases with higher monetary value. There is no specific upper limit on the money involved in these cases. They can range from relatively small disputes to high-stakes lawsuits involving significant sums of money.

It encompasses various cases, including contract disputes, personal injury claims, property disputes, and family law matters such as divorce and child custody. The types of cases that fall under civil court jurisdiction are broader and can involve complex legal issues.

In Arkansas, civil court cases involve formal legal procedures and rules of evidence. Attorneys represent the parties involved, and the process can be complex and time-consuming, including formal paperwork, information gathering, meetings, and trials.

On the other hand, small claims court records cover cases with lower monetary value. In Arkansas, the maximum amount of money that can be claimed in the Small Claims Court division is $5,000.

Small claims court records primarily involve cases of simple contract disputes, property damage, landlord-tenant issues, consumer complaints, and other minor civil disputes. These cases are typically straightforward and do not involve complex legal matters.

The Arkansas Small Claims Court system has a simplified process where people can represent themselves without hiring attorneys. It resolves disputes quickly and affordably, with fewer formalities. The judge or magistrate in Small Claims Court usually helps guide the parties during the hearing.

Most of the Arkansas Civil Court Records are in the Civil Court divisions of the Arkansas Circuit Courts. Meanwhile, the Small Claims Court divisions of the Arkansas District Courts file and keep most Arkansas Small Claims Court Records.

How To Obtain Arkansas Civil and Small Claims Records

One can follow simple steps to obtain Arkansas Civil Court Records and Arkansas Small Claims Court Records. First, visit the courthouse where the case occurred. Approach the court clerk's office and request access to the desired records.

Fill out any necessary forms and provide specific details about the case, such as the parties involved and the relevant dates. Pay any applicable fees, if required. The court clerk will then assist in retrieving the requested records, which may be provided in paper copies or digital files, depending on the court's procedures.

Arkansas Civil Court Records and Arkansas Small Claims Court Records share certain information. They include information such as the parties' names (plaintiffs and defendants), case numbers, filing dates, and the nature of the dispute.

Additionally, both types of records may contain information about court hearings, judgments, and subsequent actions taken in the case.

Arkansas Criminal Records

Arkansas Criminal Records refer to official documents that give a detailed overview of a person's criminal past, providing information about their previous offenses and interactions with the state law.

Arkansas's law enforcement agencies, courts, and other relevant authorities are responsible for maintaining criminal records. These records are essential for upholding public safety and promoting transparency in the criminal justice system.

Criminal records in Arkansas typically include details about arrests, charges, convictions, and any subsequent legal proceedings.

The information provided may encompass a wide range of offenses, ranging from minor infractions and misdemeanors to serious felonies. The records may also include data about the individual's personal identifying information, such as name, date of birth, aliases, and physical descriptors.

Additionally, these records may contain photographs, fingerprints, and other relevant identification details.

These records serve as a valuable resource for various stakeholders, including employers, landlords, law enforcement agencies, and individuals seeking to understand the background of others for safety or legal purposes. They can influence decisions related to employment, housing, and personal safety.

It is important to note that while Arkansas Criminal Records are a valuable tool for information gathering, their use is subject to legal regulations and restrictions. Privacy laws and other statutes may dictate how these records can be accessed, used, and shared.

Therefore, it is advisable to familiarize oneself with the applicable laws and guidelines when seeking or utilizing Arkansas Criminal Records.

How To Obtain Criminal Records in Arkansas

Obtaining Arkansas Criminal Records can be done through official channels and various methods. The Arkansas State Police (ASP), local law enforcement agencies, and county courts are the primary sources for accessing these records.

But the best way to obtain their criminal records in Arkansas is through the ASP. They have a central repository where interested parties can request access online or by mail.

The ASP maintains the Online Criminal Background Check System (OCBCS), where interested individuals can access criminal records online. To use this system, individuals must create an account with the Information Network of Arkansas (INA).

Alternatively, people can request criminal records from the ASP by mail. To do this, they must send a mailing request along with the appropriate fee for each document they want. Ensure to include a correct and completed background check form when submitting a mailing request.

The cost of requesting a background check from the ASP varies depending on the type of check needed. Generally, the ASP charges higher fees for state name-based background checks than fingerprint-based ones.

Arkansas Traffic Records

One of the standard Arkansas Court Records is the traffic records. Arkansas Traffic Records comprehensively overviews an individual's driving history and traffic-related activities. They include traffic violations, citations, accident reports, driver's license suspensions, fines, sentences, and other penalties.

Aside from the state's courts, the responsible entities for creating and upholding these records in Arkansas consist of the Department of Transportation (ArDOT), the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and the Office of Driver Services (ODS) of the Department of Finance and Administration (DFA).

Public access to traffic records in Arkansas is permitted. However, Arkansas state laws and the Federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) play a vital role in safeguarding private information within these records.

Consequently, personal information in Arkansas Traffic Records is confidential and subject to restrictions on public access. To disclose this information to a third party, the subject of the record must provide a signed release containing their name, date of birth, driver's license number, and the name of the authorized recipient.

How To Access Arkansas Traffic Records

The ODS of the DFA is primarily responsible for maintaining records related to traffic violations and accidents for every licensed driver in the state. Thus, individuals interested in accessing Arkansas Traffic Records can do so through the ODS.

One can request traffic records online through the Online Driver Record Request System of the ODS of the DFA. To use this system, interested parties must possess the driver's first and last name, birthdate, the last five digits of the social security number, the driver's license number, and the driver's license issue date.

A valid credit card (Discover, Visa, or Mastercard) is also necessary for payment.

The ODS also includes convictions for traffic violations on driving records and updates the state's Commercial Driver Alcohol and Drug Testing Database specifically for drivers holding commercial licenses. To access traffic records through this database, interested individuals must first register and provide a signed release from the subject.

Alternatively, records can be obtained in person at any Arkansas Revenue Office, driving records counter, or by sending a mail request to the ODS.

Arkansas Probate Records

Arkansas Probate Records are official documents that provide information about the distribution of a deceased person's assets and the settlement of their debts. These records provide valuable insights into family relationships, property ownership, and the deceased's financial affairs.

When a person passes away, their probate records document the appointment of an executor or personal representative responsible for managing the estate. These records also include details about the deceased person's will, if one exists, or the distribution of their assets according to state intestacy laws when there is no will.

Additionally, probate records in Arkansas contain information about the inventory of the deceased person's assets, such as real estate, personal property, and financial accounts. They also list any debts, taxes, and expenses that must be paid from the estate.

Furthermore, these records may uncover court filings, legal notices, and the final distribution of the estate to beneficiaries or heirs.

Researchers, genealogists, and individuals seeking information about a deceased person's estate can access Arkansas Probate Records.

Probate records are typically maintained at the county level in Arkansas. Interested individuals can visit the Arkansas Circuit Court probate division in the county where the deceased person resided or owned property. Contact the specific Circuit Court to inquire about their procedures for accessing and obtaining probate records.

In certain Arkansas counties, the County Clerk's Office holds probate records. Reach out to the County Clerk's Office in the relevant county to inquire about the availability of probate records and the process for obtaining them.

Moreover, Arkansas has digitized and made some probate records available online. The Arkansas History Commission, through its website, provides access to various historical documents, including probate records.

Arkansas Bankruptcy Records

Arkansas Bankruptcy Records refer to the official documents and information related to bankruptcy cases filed within the state. Generally, these records contain essential details about individuals or businesses that have sought bankruptcy protection under federal law.

By examining Arkansas Bankruptcy Records, interested parties, such as creditors, attorneys, researchers, or individuals seeking information, can gain a better understanding of the bankruptcy cases, including the type of bankruptcy filed, the assets and liabilities involved, the appointed trustee, and the overall progress of the case.

The state trial courts hold the majority of Arkansas Court Records. However, when it comes to handling bankruptcy cases and maintaining bankruptcy records in the state, the responsibility lies with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas, which is part of the federal court system.

This court has two divisions, which are in Little Rock and Fayetteville. Each division has its courthouse that handles bankruptcy cases and maintains the Arkansas Bankruptcy Records.

Nevada generally allows the public to access bankruptcy records according to  Title 11 Bankruptcy Code 107(1).

However, the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure 9037 require redacting certain personal information from bankruptcy records, such as birthdates, social security numbers, tax identification numbers, financial account numbers, and names of non-debtor minors.

How To Obtain Bankruptcy Records in Arkansas

Several methods are available to individuals seeking information from bankruptcy records in Arkansas.

One way to obtain bankruptcy records is by directly contacting the Clerk of the Court at the specific bankruptcy court location or division that filed the case. Individuals can request access to bankruptcy records for a particular case by contacting the Clerk's Office in person or through their contact information.

For online resources, interested individuals can use the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system to access bankruptcy records.

By registering for a PACER account and paying a nominal fee per page accessed, users can search and retrieve bankruptcy records for cases filed in federal courts, including those in Arkansas.

To access bankruptcy records for a specific location in Arkansas, utilizing the Eastern District of Arkansas - Document Filing System or the Western District of Arkansas - Document Filing System is advisable. By logging into the appropriate portal, individuals can effectively search and retrieve bankruptcy records related to cases filed in Arkansas's Eastern or Western districts.

For older bankruptcy records, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) can be a valuable resource. NARA holds archival records from federal agencies, including bankruptcy court records. Individuals can search for bankruptcy records from earlier years by visiting the NARA website or contacting the appropriate regional NARA facility that covers Arkansas.

Lastly, one can use the Multiple Court Voice Case Information System (MCVCIS) as a free resource for accessing bankruptcy court records. By calling the MCVCIS toll-free number (866) 222-8029 and following the prompts, individuals can access limited information about bankruptcy cases filed in Arkansas.

Like many other states, Arkansas maintains a comprehensive case search system that allows individuals to access court records easily. This system, known as "CourtConnect," is provided by the Arkansas Judiciary.

With CourtConnect, individuals can conduct searches by name, judgment, date, and case number, providing convenient and efficient access to Arkansas Court Records.

CourtConnect's search-by-name feature enables individuals to find court records associated with a specific individual or business. Users can quickly access relevant court records, including case details, case status, and related documents, by inputting the party's name or company name.

The search-by-judgment allows users to find court records based on the outcome or decision of a case. Meanwhile, the search-by-date feature is handy for individuals interested in accessing court records within a specific timeframe. This option allows users to search for cases based on the filing date, hearing, or other relevant event.

Lastly, the search-by-case number feature in CourtConnect provides a direct and precise method of accessing court records. Each case in the Arkansas court system is assigned a unique identification number, and by entering this number into the search field, users can promptly and precisely retrieve the corresponding records.

In addition to the statewide case search system, individual counties in Arkansas provide online access to court records. Washington County is one such county, ensuring that court records are available to its residents and the general public.

If the court record in question is unavailable in the case search system, contact the clerks of the courthouses that maintain such documents. Generally, interested individuals can submit written requests or make oral applications to obtain the desired court record.

Use the Arkansas Circuit Clerks Directory or Arkansas District Courts Directory to locate and contact the appropriate court clerk for specific procedures and fees in accessing court documents.

Counties in Arkansas

Courts in Arkansas

Arkansas Supreme Court625 Marshall Street, Little Rock, AR
Arkansas Court of Appeals625 Marshall Street, Little Rock, AR
Pulaski County District Court3001 W. Roosevelt, Little Rock, AR
Arkansas 6th Judicial Circuit401 W. Markham, Room 420, Little Rock, AR
Benton County District CourtP.O. Box 459, Gentry, AR
Arkansas 19th West Judicial Circuit102 NE A Street, Bentonville, AR
Arkansas 19th East Judicial Circuit124 North Main Street; PO Box 231, Berryville, AR
Arkansas 4th Judicial Circuit280 N. College, #302, Fayetteville, AR
Washington County District Court176 S. Church Ave. Suite 1, Fayetteville, AR
Sebastian County District Court-Fort Smith District901 South 'B' Street, Fort Smith, AR