Arkansas Felony Lawyers Fight For Dismissal Or Reduction Of Your Charges
Finding creative solutions for your case
If you have been charged with a felony in the state of Arkansas, you should contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Felonies can have serious consequences, including serious jail time and hefty significant fines. At Huffman Butler, PLLC our top priority is defending your rights and achieving the best possible resolution of your case. You can count on us to provide an aggressive defense that leaves no stone unturned.
Misdemeanors are generally considered less serious crimes and carry lighter penalties than felonies. Arkansas has four different classifications for misdemeanors:
- Class A misdemeanor — carries a maximum sentence not to exceed one year and a maximum fine of $2,500
- Class B misdemeanor — carries a maximum sentence not to exceed 90 days and a maximum fine of $1,000
- Class C misdemeanor — carries a maximum sentence not to exceed 30 days and a maximum fine of $500
- Unclassified misdemeanor — limits the sentence and fine by the particular criminal statute
If a criminal statute designates a crime as a misdemeanor but does not include sentencing restrictions, the crime is presumed to be a Class A misdemeanor. Many specific misdemeanor crimes have specific punishments in addition to those listed above. For instance, misdemeanor charges related to driving under the influence may also result in the suspension of your driver’s license.
While many misdemeanors carry very little jail time, crimes that would typically be classified as misdemeanors may be elevated to serious felony offenses based on aggravating factors, such as the location of the crime or certain characteristics of the victim, including his or her age. An experienced criminal defense law firm can work with prosecutors to reduce your charges.
Felonies involve more serious crimes and more serious penalties. In Arkansas, there are six categories of felonies:
- Class Y felony — This carries a minimum sentence of ten years, but no more than 40 years or life. Examples include murder, rape, arson and kidnapping
- Class A felony — This carries a minimum sentence of six years, but no more than 30 years. Aggravated robbery, human trafficking and many sex and drug crimes fall under this category
- Class B felony — This carries a minimum sentence of five years, but no more than 20 years. These crimes include burglary, theft of property and forgery
- Class C felony — This carries a minimum sentence of three years, but no more than ten years. Common offenses include receiving stolen property, vandalism, failure to appear, financial identity fraud and intimidating a witness
- Class D felony — This carries a maximum sentence not to exceed six years. Examples include aggravated assault, breaking and entering, cruelty to animals and defacing a firearm
- Unclassified felony — The sentence and fine are limited by the particular criminal statute
If a criminal statute states that the crime is a felony but does not specify the sentence or classification, the crime is presumed to be a Class D felony. Class A and Class B felonies carry a maximum fine of $15,000, while Class C and Class D felonies carry a maximum fine of $10,000.
Because each felony class includes a number of different crimes, Arkansas sentencing laws provide a wide range of possible jail sentences and fines. The penalties in your case are influenced by the circumstances of the crime and your criminal history. Because both prosecutors and judges are given some leeway when recommending and imposing sentences, it is imperative to have Arkansas criminal defense lawyers advocating on your behalf.
The statute of limitations — the time frame during which prosecutors must file criminal charges —also differs for each class of felony. There is no limit for murder charges, while the statute of limitations for rape is 15 years. Prosecutions for all other Class Y felonies and all Class A felonies must be initiated within six years of the crime. The time frame for Class B, C, D and unclassified felonies is three years. For felonies involving fraud or breach of fiduciary duty, prosecutors have only one year to bring charges.
The availability of expungement
A criminal conviction can impact many aspects of your life, from housing to employment. Fortunately, for some people, it is possible to expunge a prior criminal record. As the Arkansas expungement statute highlights, the term “expunge” does not mean that criminal records are erased or destroyed. Rather, they are sealed and treated as confidential.
Expungement eligibility depends on several factors. If you were charged and arrested but the charges were dismissed, acquitted or deemed nolle prosequi, you can petition the court for expungement.
However, if you have been convicted of a crime, you must meet very specific criteria that pertain to the nature of the crime and when it was committed. In many cases, your eligibility for expungement after completing your prison sentence or probation depends on your criminal history, including prior felony convictions.
If you have an arrest or conviction expunged, you are considered to have a “clean record” for most purposes (the most significant exception is if you are charged with a crime in the future). However, expungement only restores your right to carry a gun in certain circumstances, such as those sentenced under the Arkansas First Offender Act. In many other cases, a pardon, rather than an expungement, is necessary to restore gun rights.
Getting a criminal record expunged is a complicated legal process. You must file a petition to seal records and may even be required to attend a court hearing. Therefore, it is useful to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Dedicated Benton criminal defense attorneys by your side
At Huffman Butler, PLLC our attorneys understand how a felony criminal conviction can affect your future, and we do everything possible to help you. Call 501-315-5297 or book an appointment on our online scheduler. We offer flexible office hours and convenient office locations in central Arkansas.