Domestic violence is a significant crime in Arkansas, and domestic violence cases are often emotionally charged and legally complex. Domestic violence occurs when someone physically injures a family member or household member. Engaging in conduct that creates a substantial danger of death or serious injury to a family or household member also constitutes domestic violence in Arkansas. Defendants convicted of domestic violence in Arkansas can face significant punishments. The state of Arkansas has some of the strictest domestic violence laws in the country. In many instances, when the police investigate a domestic violence claim, they will arrest one or more of the people involved.
At the Law Offices of Bryce Cook, we have extensive experience defending both men and women from domestic violence charges. If you’re facing domestic violence charges, we advise hiring an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Founding attorney Bryce Cook has comprehensive knowledge of Arkansas’ domestic violence laws. He dedicates his practice to helping clients against domestic violence charges and he understands that sometimes his clients make mistakes, lose control, or face wrongful accusations for domestic violence. He offers his clients effective representation while treating each client with the respect he or she deserves. Contact our criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to learn how we can help defend you.
Protected Victims Under Arkansas’ Domestic Violence Laws
Domestic violence laws only apply to victims and aggressors who are household or family members. Arkansas criminal law defines “family or household members” as any of the following:
- Former or current spouses
- Children and parents
- Persons related by blood
- A child living in the aggressor’s household
- Persons who currently live together or previously lived together
- Persons who have a child together
- Persons who were formerly in a dating relationship or are in a dating relationship
What Constitutes a Dating Relationship Per Arkansas’ Domestic Violence Laws?
A court considers several factors when determining whether or not the defendant is currently or had been in a dating relationship with the alleged victim of domestic violence. Relevant factors include the following:
- The length of the relationship
- The type of relationship
- The frequency of the interactions between everyone involved
The type of relationship is an important factor. Usually, fraternization in a social or business environment is not a dating relationship. In some cases, prosecutors wrongly charge defendants for domestic violence despite evidence that the relationship between the defendant and the alleged victim.
Arkansas Domestic Battering in the First-Degree
First-degree domestic battery is the most serious domestic violence crime under Arkansas law. Domestic battery in the first degree is a Class B felony. Those convicted face up to 20 years in prison. When the defendant knew or should have known that the victim was pregnant, first-degree domestic battery is a Class A felony. Similarly, if the defendant had a previous conviction for a domestic battery within the last five years, prosecutors will charge him or her with a Class A felony. Defendants convicted of a Class A felony face up to a thirty-year prison sentence. The crime of first-degree domestic battery takes place when a person causes any of the following to a household or family member:
- Serious personal injury by use of a deadly weapon while intending to cause such an injury
- Serious permanent disfigurement or disability with the intent to cause such an injury
- Serious physical injury under circumstances that show extreme indifference to the value of human life
- Serious physical injury to a family or household member who the person knows is under age 13
- Serious physical injury to a family or household member who is over the age of 60
Arkansas Domestic Battering in the Second-Degree
Second-degree domestic battering is a Class C felony, punishable by a maximum prison sentence of ten years. Under Arkansas law, when the defendant knew that the victim was pregnant or had a previous domestic battering conviction within the past five years, he or she will face a Class B felony charge. Second-degree domestic battering occurs when the defendant commits any of the following acts against a household or family member:
- Causes serious physical injury with the intent to cause such an injury
- Inflicts a physical injury by use of a deadly weapon with the intent to cause such an injury
- Recklessly causes serious physical injury by use of a deadly weapon
- Knowingly causes physical injury to a family or household member younger than 12 or older than sixty
Arkansas Domestic Battering in the Third-Degree
An individual commits third-degree domestic battery in Arkansas when he or she commits one or more of the following acts against a family or household member:
- Causes physical injury while intending to cause physical injury
- Recklessly causes physical injury
- Negligently causes physical injury through the use of a deadly weapon
- Intentionally causes mental or physical impairment by providing a drug or other substance without consent
Third-degree domestic battering in Arkansas is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail. If other exacerbating factors occurred, prosecutors might prosecute the crime as a Class D felony with a punishment of up to six years in prison.
Aggravated Assault on a Family Member in Arkansas and Violating Protective Orders
Aggravated assault on a family member occurs when a person creates a substantial danger of death or serious physical injury to a family or household member. The prosecution must prove that the defendant showed extreme indifference to the value of human life to convict the defendant. Violating protective orders carries a punishment of up to a year in jail, or longer if the defendant violated a protective order within the last five years.
Our Domestic Violence Defense Law Firm Can Help
If you’re facing a domestic violence charge in Arkansas, it is wise to contact a skilled criminal defense attorney. Depending on the seriousness of the charge, you could be facing up to thirty years of jail time. Founding attorney Bryce Cook has extensive experience successfully defending clients charged with domestic violence crimes. Contact our Jonesboro criminal defense attorneys today to schedule your initial consultation.