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What is Domestic Violence in Arkansas?
When people think of domestic violence, they often mistakenly believe that only severe physical fights are pursued with charges by the state. However, the state of Arkansas so aggressively pursues instances of domestic violence that even small incidents can be prosecuted.
In Arkansas, domestic violence occurs any time there is an act of physical violence between two people who are related or who are in a romantic relationship. This can be a simple act of pushing, shoving or restraining someone during an argument. The argument does not have to escalate to a severe physical confrontation before someone is arrested.
If you find yourself in this situation, you need to hire an attorney immediately. Do not wait to see if charges might be filed against you. The best course of action is to hire an attorney right after you have been arrested.
False Claims of Domestic Violence in Arkansas
Unfortunately, many claims of domestic violence made in Arkansas are false. When couples are going through a highly contentious divorce, some people might find it potentially beneficial to accuse their partners of domestic violence.
In Arkansas, courts provide certain protections to victims of domestic violence who are in the process of a divorce. These include sole residence in the family home, sole physical custody of children, reimbursement of attorney fees, and sometimes, priority in subsidized housing. Some partners might find these protections attractive during the middle of a divorce and be tempted to make false accusations.
If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, it is important that you hire a skilled defense attorney as soon as possible. Unlike many states, Arkansas pursues almost all instances of domestic violence as felonies. The consequences of failing to hire the right attorney can be extreme.
Arkansas Penalties for Domestic Violence
Though most states will charge incidents of domestic violence as misdemeanor offenses, particularly on the first offense, Arkansas takes an extremely hard stance on these types of cases. Arkansas allows for domestic violence to be prosecuted as a misdemeanor, but prosecutors almost always attempt to upgrade the cases to felonies.
If this is not your only domestic violence offense within the last five years, the charge will certainly be a felony. The potential penalties for a felony conviction are severe. A guilty verdict can result in prison time of approximately 3 to 20 years, depending on the class of felony charged. In addition, a conviction can come with fines of $10,000 to $15,000. You can also lose your child custody rights, employment opportunities, housing options, and your right to own a firearm.
It is imperative that you hire the right lawyer to defend these charges which can carry serious repercussions.
What Should I Do if I Have Been Accused of Domestic Violence?
When potential clients contact us after they have first been accused of domestic violence, they usually have a number of questions. Their first question is usually, “What should I do now?” We have several tips that we always share with clients that will help them throughout the course of their cases.
- Remain calm.One of the most important things for you to do when you are initially accused or find out about charges is to remain calm. Any displays of anger or outbursts can be used against you. You want to maintain your composure and approach the situation with a cool head.
- Take the allegations seriously.You want to remain calm, but you also need to understand the magnitude of the charges against you. Many people believe domestic violence will simply go away or merely result in a misdemeanor if it is the first offense. Arkansas, however usually charges these as felonies, even on the first offense. A felony conviction can have serious effects on your life long-term. It’s important to keep in mind that this is a serious matter.
- Do not contact the victim/accuser.Even if you intend to do so in a calm manner, you should by no means contact the victim or accuser in your case. Any contact between you two could be twisted into evidence against you. These situations are emotional, and conversations can quickly escalate and later be introduced against you.
- Save all documentation.If you have voicemails, emails, or text messages that you think might be helpful to your case, save them. You will want to show your lawyer everything anyway, so be sure to hold onto any documents or files that might be relevant.
- Contact an attorney. It is extremely important that you contact a defense lawyer as soon as you have the opportunity. Time will be of the essence on these cases, and you want your attorney to immediately start working on building your defense. You will also receive peace of mind from hearing the guidance of your counsel.
Keep these tips in mind if you are facing accusations or charges of domestic violence. They will provide you a pathway toward defending yourself against the allegations. The lawyers at the Rees Law Firm can help you navigate the system and provide you the representation you need during this time. Contact our Jonesboro firm today to schedule a free and confidential attorney consultation.
- Hal Rees
Best lawyer in Jonesboro…hands down! He really comes to bat for his clients.Jared Bozarth
I have used this firm for many years. They are professional and inviting, knowledgeable and hold themselves to a high level of integrity and moral accountability. I recommend them on a regular basis and have never been disappointed.Anastasia Beaverhousin
The best lawyer in Jonesboro and surrounding area. Mark, you work for your clients and you treat them as if they are your only client. You are a blessing to anyone. Keep up the great jobSheri Seabaugh Prestidge
A brilliant legal mind and an aggressive defender of the accused. Great person!Stan Morris
Mark Rees is a terrific lawyer and went above and beyond for me each time I have used his services. He treated me as if I were family and was always straight forward with us. I would recommend him to anyone.Tonda Johnston Baxter