Bella Vista Court soft opening in November

Fines for tickets or arrests issued on or after Nov. 1 to be paid to Bella Vista location


EDIT: Court hours for accepting fines in person will be from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

As the final preparations are being made to the physical location of the new Bella Vista department of the Benton County District Court, residents and visitors will need to be aware of some changes coming before the end of the year.

Starting Nov. 1, 2017, all fines from citations issued on or after that date in the city of Bella Vista will be paid to the Bella Vista court. This includes fines from traffic violations or other misdemeanor offenses, as well as city code violations. All fines from citations issued prior to that date will still be collected in Bentonville.

Fines will be collected either in person at the new location of the court – 612 W. Lancashire Blvd. – or online at www.bellavistaar.gov/districtcourt.

The Court Clerk will be available to accept fines in person from 8 a.m. noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Parking will be available in front of the facility. The court is a secure facility, and no firearms or other weapons will be allowed on the premises.

Existing court dates scheduled to be heard in Bentonville will remain so. All court dates resulting from citations issued starting Nov. 1, 2017 will be heard in the Bella Vista court. However, no Bella Vista court dates will be scheduled for before Jan. 1, 2018.

The city’s department of the court was established when Governor Asa Hutchinson in March signed into law Act 723, a bill authorizing Bella Vista to create its own department of the Benton County District Court. Currently, and since the city’s 2007 incorporation, misdemeanor offenses, traffic offenses and city code violations are heard in the Bentonville department of the Benton County District Court. The City of Bella Vista contracts with the City of Bentonville for these services, for a monthly fee. All Bella Vista cases are scheduled on the designated single court day each month. Consequently, the staff attorney and any police officers involved in the cases must attend court outside of the city.

The new law permits the current district judge to conduct hearings in Bella Vista and records to be housed in the city. The court clerk position was also permitted under the law. The full-time clerk has begun her duties with the city, and will be available to collect fines and operate the court on the soft opening date.

“The change will result in a long-term cost savings to the city, as we will eliminate the increasing cost of the cost-share agreement necessary now,” said Mayor Peter Christie.

“In addition to cost savings, the new court location will provide a greater security to the city’s residents, as the police officers involved in cases heard in court can now remain in city limits,” said Police Chief James Graves. Currently, it is not unusual to have an entire shift of officers out of city limits on court day, he added.

For questions or information on updates, call City Hall at 479-876-1255, opt. 1.