Even though the penalties for misdemeanors in Arkansas are not as severe as felonies, misdemeanors are still serious crimes. Misdemeanors are crimes with a punishment of up to a year in local or county jail. Even a first-time misdemeanor conviction can have a dramatic impact on your life.
If a court convicts you of a second or subsequent misdemeanor charge, an Arkansas court will impose a harsher sentence on you. If you’re facing a misdemeanor conviction in Northwest Arkansas, you need to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Bryce Cook, we will provide you with the excellent criminal defense that you deserve. Contact our Jonesboro law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.
Facing Misdemeanor Charges in Arkansas
The Circuit Court handles Arkansas misdemeanors, which the law categorizes as a Class A, B, or C. Some misdemeanors are unclassified. A Class A misdemeanor is the most serious. Class A misdemeanors carry a sentence of up to one year of jail time and a fine of up to $2,500. Class B misdemeanors carry a jail sentence of up to 90 days and a fine of up to $100.
Lastly, Class C misdemeanors carry a fine of up to $500 and a jail sentence of up to 30 days. After you’re charged with the misdemeanor, an arraignment will happen. Once you enter your plea of guilty or not guilty, the court will set a trial date.
If you are considering entering into a plea of guilty in exchange for a lower charge or sentence, we recommend speaking with an experienced lawyer first. In many cases, prosecutors know that they don’t have enough evidence to prove a misdemeanor charge against you, so they offer a plea deal. While plea deals are sometimes wise, they aren’t always a defendant’s best option. At the Law Offices of Bryce Cook, we will review your case and advise you as to your best legal option.
Common Misdemeanor Crimes in Arkansas
Arkansas misdemeanor laws prohibit many different kinds of activities. Under the law, misdemeanor crimes are minor crimes that a defendant commits within the confines of Arkansas. Many of these crimes disturb the peace and harm the defendant, but they are usually non-violent. Common misdemeanor charges in Arkansas include the following:
- Reckless driving
- Marijuana possession
- Prostitution or soliciting prostitution
- Misdemeanor driving while intoxicated (DWI)
- Disorderly conduct in public
- Public intoxication, or getting drunk in public
- Driving on a suspended license after a DWI conviction
The Benefit of Hiring an Experienced Arkansas Misdemeanor Lawyer
Time is of the essence while you await your trial date. After you’ve entered your plea of not guilty, it is essential to begin building your case. Typically, there are no juries involved in trials for misdemeanors in Arkansas. A judge will decide whether or not you are guilty of the crime. Hiring a skilled defense lawyer is well worth it.
At the Law Offices of Bryce Cook, we take the time to investigate all of our client’s cases. We evaluate the evidence and poke holes in the prosecution’s case for the benefit of our client. We’ll help you develop the best defense strategy possible for beating your misdemeanor charges.
Statute of Limitations for Misdemeanors
Under Arkansas law, prosecutors must bring misdemeanor charges against a defendant before the statute of limitations expires. Typically, the state must bring charges within one year of the date that the defendant allegedly committed the crime.
Misdemeanor DWI Lawyers
At the Law Offices of Bryce Cook, we have successfully represented many clients in first time DWI charges. Sometimes, even the most responsible Arkansas drivers make a mistake. Arkansas prosecutors take first time DWI charges seriously, even though most DWI charges are misdemeanors. While the penalties for a first-time DWI may not be as severe as with other crimes, the penalties for DWI become more severe with each subsequent offense.
Many people assume that there is no way to fight a DWI charge. Keep in mind, however, that law enforcement officers must follow strict procedures for arresting DWI suspects and testing their breath or blood alcohol content. When police officers do not follow the correct procedures, or when they violate your constitutional rights, a judge may dismiss your charges. The sooner you contact a lawyer after a DWI arrest, the better.
Marijuana Possession Charges
Even though attitudes are changing regarding marijuana, it is still illegal in Arkansas. If you are caught in possession of marijuana, or while using the substance in Arkansas, you can face serious penalties. Under Arkansas law, suspects in possession of fewer than four ounces of marijuana will face misdemeanor charges. Those in possession or four or more ounces will face felony charges. Prosecutors need to prove their case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. In some cases, law enforcement officers fail to follow constitutional guidelines for stop and search. When law enforcement officers have violated your rights, you may be able to file a motion to exclude evidence of the marijuana successfully.
Disorderly Conduct Charges
It’s easy to get carried away while enjoying a drink and enjoying a Razorback game with friends. Sometimes, when a person’s behavior gets out of hand, law enforcement will charge them with disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor. Arkansas law prohibits disorderly conduct, which includes one or more of the following activities:
- Disturbing a lawful meeting or assembly
- Provoking violence
- Making an excessive amount of noise
- Obstructing traffic
- Congregating with others in public and refusing to leave
- Making obscene gestures in public
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
At the Law Offices of Bryce Cook, we provide excellent criminal defense representation at a reasonable cost. If you’re facing DWI charges in the greater Little Rock area, we can help. Contact our Jonesboro defense lawyers today to schedule your initial consultation.