Criminal Law in Arkansas
Anyone accused of a crime in Arkansas needs a qualified Arkansas criminal defense attorney immediately, regardless of whether he or she is guilty or innocent. Unfortunately, innocent people do get convicted. If you or a loved one has been arrested for a crime committed in Arkansas, it’s important to seek legal counsel.
If you’re researching Arkansas criminal law or looking for an Arkansas criminal defense attorney, this article was created for you. Read on and we’ll provide what you need to know about:
- Arkansas criminal laws;
- Criminal defense in Arkansas; and
- How to work with your Arkansas criminal defense attorney.
The information we can provide is general and educational in nature; your criminal defense lawyer will provide the specifics and legal advice for your individual situation.
Arkansas Criminal Laws
Criminal law seeks to both protect individuals and the general public from perceived harm and to keep order in society. Arkansas criminal laws are found in the Arkansas Criminal Code.
There are many crimes listed in the Arkansas Criminal Code, including tax evasion, fraud, bribery, extortion, assault, insurance fraud, prostitution, DUI/DWI, drug crimes, weapon crimes, and disorderly conduct.
Ask your defense attorney to explain the crime you’ve been charged with.
Statute of Limitations
Arkansas prosecutors must bring criminal charges within the Arkansas statute of limitations. If charges are not brought within this time limit, they are barred.
For example, in Arkansas, the statute of limitations for:
- Assault and battery is1 year or 6 years, depending on the facts of the case. (Ark. Code Ann. В§5-1-109(b)(1) – (3)).
- Burglary is 3 years(Ark. Code Ann. В§5-1-109(b)(2)).
- Murder has no time limit (Ark. Code Ann. В§5-1-109(b)(2), (3)).
Charges won’t likely be brought if the statute of limitations has passed in your case, but ask your defense attorney to confirm.
Arkansas has development sentencing guidelines in an attempt to provide similar sentences for similar crimes for individuals with similar criminal rap sheets. This helps to avoid sentences based upon race, sex, or exercise of Constitutional rights.
The guidelines provide a presumptive sentence the can be increased if there are aggravating circumstances and decreased in the presence of mitigating circumstances.
Arkansas has 10 classes of felonies, with 10 being the most serious and 1 being the least serious. Criminal history is factored in.
The more points you “score” on the Arkansas sentencing grid, the stiffer the punishment.
Your criminal defense attorney will explain exactly what punishment you are facing.
What You Need to Know About Criminal Defense
Being arrested is serious. Your entire future is at risk – life, liberty, money, family, job, health, and reputation in the community.
- Call an Arkansas criminal defense lawyer as soon as you are arrested – or if you think you will be arrested.
- Even innocent people need a rigorous legal defense.
- Your conversations with your defense attorney are confidential. Disclose all.
- Do not make a statement to police, other than to ask for an attorney. Any conversations with police are not confidential.
Your criminal defense lawyer will detail what you need to know, reflecting the facts of your particular case.
How to Work with an Arkansas Criminal Defense Lawyer
You can’t just hire an attorney and then sit back and watch. You need to be an active partner in your own defense.
To be your own advocate, you must do everything on this list, plus anything your lawyer asks you to do:
- Remember that everything your attorney does is in your best interests – even if it makes you feel uncomfortable.
- Always heed your lawyer’s advice.
- Tell your defense attorney exactly what happened. Everything.
- Respond to phone calls, emails, or letters immediately.
- Provide all requested information.
- Stay in contact with your attorney and update your attorney’s office if your phone number or address changes.
- Remember that it is in your best interest for your attorney to question you; perhaps even challenge you.
- Remember it is in your best interest for your attorney to be polite and cooperate with witnesses, the alleged victim, police officers, investigators, and the prosecutor.
Bottom Line: If you are facing criminal charges in Arkansas, immediately consult with a criminal defense attorney. You can find an attorney by entering “How to find an Arkansas criminal defense attorney” into an Internet search. Once you hire a qualified Arkansas criminal defense lawyer, you are not alone.