With respect to other State Courts, Indiana Court has a bit complicated trial court system consisting of four main court types, without standardized jurisdiction from county to county. For many Indiana courts, the jurisdiction given is based on whether other types of courts exist in a particular county or judicial circuit. The four main types of Indiana trial courts are Circuit Courts, Superior Courts, County Courts and City or Town Courts. Some counties have all types of courts, while others may only have a Circuit Court. Some counties may have separate Ordinance Violations Bureaus.
The Circuit courts are present to hear and give exclusive jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases (mostly cases beyond the jurisdiction of other courts). Criminal cases heard by Circuit Courts include all types of felonies and lesser-included offenses. In counties without Superior Courts or County Courts, Circuit Courts will also handle misdemeanors and ordinance violations. Civil cases heard by Circuit Courts include general civil claims beyond the judicial capacity of other courts. In counties without Superior Courts or County Courts, Circuit Courts will also handle small claims cases. Circuit Courts handle most domestic relations cases, including divorce, child custody, child support, paternity and domestic violence protection orders. Circuit Courts handle most juvenile matters and share some jurisdiction with Superior Courts over juvenile cases including juvenile delinquency, child abuse and neglect and termination of parental rights. It even has its share of jurisdiction with Superior Courts over mental health cases and probate matters.
Superior Courts exercise general jurisdiction over most civil and criminal cases, but jurisdiction varies from county to county. Superior Courts handle criminal case which includes felonies and misdemeanors. In counties without County Courts, Superior Courts will also handle ordinance violations. Civil claims are taken into account by these types of courts in Indiana. Country Courts follows next in hearing criminal activities that include felony preliminary hearings, Class D felonies, misdemeanors, ordinance violations and infractions (these are crimes less serious than a felony). Civil cases heard by County Courts include some general civil claims for less than $10,000 and landlord-tenant eviction cases. They are barred from the authority to give jurisdiction over cases that request injunctive relief, partition of real estate, actions to declare or enforce liens, paternity, juvenile matters, probate matters, appointment of receivership and the dissolution of marriage.
A City Court or a Town Court has jurisdiction to hear all city or town ordinance violations, infractions and some misdemeanor criminal cases. City and Town Courts may have some jurisdiction over certain civil cases depending upon the amount of money that is struck in the dispute.
Along with the aforesaid courts, the state of Indiana possesses few more bodies for detailed hearing of exclusive cases. The Indiana Court has the Tax Court, Marion County Small Claims court and St. Joseph County Probate Court to provide a better jurisdiction over the related issues.
Indiana Court Records
Indiana Courts have well defined online services. The official website available for viewing the Indiana Courts online is www.in.gov/judiciary/admin/pubs/access.html. One can also type in Indiana court records into any search engine and get to the site as well. This is a special site that offers public access to court records and is administered by the Indiana Division of State Court Administration. It was set up so that the public would have easy access to the information they need and be able to obtain as much information online. A section called Public Access to court records Handbook is available, which when clicked on, explains all fees and procedures. On the left side of the main page is a list of topics to click on including everything from State Court Administration to forms and publications to two contact information topics that will provide all contact information for all courts and departments. There are some records that may be restricted for various reasons, however, one can contact the court and try to resolve the situation. And even there are more sites available in the Web that promises to provide free access to the various court records that are being administered at various levels.