Arkansas Domestic Violence
Domestic violence laws in Arkansas make it a crime to physically injure members of your family or people who live in your home or to engage in conduct that poses a substantial risk of causing serious injury or death to these “protected” individuals. If you have been arrested for domestic violence in Arkansas, it is in your best interest to retain the services of an experienced domestic violence defense attorney as quickly as possible, one who can evaluate every aspect of your case and put forth the strongest possible defense based on your specific situation. Having a knowledgeable defense lawyer on your side can make all the difference in your Arkansas domestic violence case, so don’t wait to get legal help.
Arkansas Domestic Violence Laws
Arkansas has some of the most protective domestic violence laws in the country, and these laws specifically apply to alleged perpetrators and victims who are considered family or household members. This includes:
- Current or former spouses
- People who currently or formerly were in a dating relationship
- People who currently or previously lived together
- People who have a child together
- People related by blood
- A child living in the household
- Parents and children
Domestic violence is broadly defined under Arkansas criminal law, and that leaves the door open for even minor incidents to be charged and prosecuted aggressively. In some cases, a heated disagreement or altercation may escalate into a physical fight, and the police may end up being called to your home. The incident doesn’t even have to be very serious to be considered domestic violence; even a simple push or shove can be enough to result in a domestic violence arrest if it causes injury to the other person. Most states will charge individuals accused of domestic violence with a misdemeanor, particularly for a first-time offense. However, prosecutors in Arkansas take a tough stance on abuse and assault, and if you are accused of domestic violence, you could end up being charged with a felony, even if it is your first offense. Generally speaking, the state of Arkansas categorizes and punishes domestic violence offenses according to the level of injury sustained by the alleged victim.
First-Degree Domestic Battering
Under AR Code § 5-26-303, a person found guilty of domestic battering in the first degree, a Class B felony, faces a potential penalty of up to 20 years in prison, although there are certain aggravating factors that can increase the prison sentence. For instance, if the defendant knew or should have known that the alleged victim was pregnant at the time the domestic violence occurred, or if the defendant has a prior domestic battering conviction within the previous five years, the new offense may be charged as a Class A felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
Second-Degree Domestic Battering
Under AR Code § 5-26-304, a person found guilty of domestic battering in the second degree, a Class C felony, faces a maximum term of imprisonment of ten years. If the defendant knew or should have known that the alleged victim was pregnant, or if the defendant has a prior domestic battering conviction within the previous five years, the new offense may instead be charged as a Class B felony.
Third-Degree Domestic Battering
Under AR Code § 5-26-305, a person found guilty of domestic battering in the third degree, a Class A misdemeanor, faces up to one year in jail. If the defendant knew or should have known that the alleged victim was pregnant, or if the defendant has a prior domestic battering or aggravated assault conviction within the previous five years, the new offense may be charged as a Class D felony, punishable by up to six years in prison.
Aggravated Assault on a Family Member
Under AR Code § 5-26-306, a person commits aggravated assault on a family or household member by engaging in conduct that poses a substantial risk of causing serious injury or death to the family or household member and shows extreme indifference to the value of human life. This crime is charged as a Class D felony in Arkansas.
Domestic Violence Defense
Facing criminal charges for domestic violence in Arkansas may seem like a hopeless situation, especially if you have been charged with a felony offense, but it is important to remember two things: first, that you are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, and second, that the prosecution bears the burden of proving that you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Every criminal offense in every state is comprised of several specific elements, and the prosecution in a criminal case can only get a guilty verdict if it can prove each element to the point that there is no other logical explanation for the facts presented at trial except that the defendant committed the crime. With the right strategy, your defense attorney may be able to reveal fatal flaws in the prosecution’s case, create reasonable doubt in the minds of the judge or jury and secure an acquittal.
False Accusations of Abuse
Many domestic violence charges are the result of false accusations of abuse made by one spouse against another, often as a means of getting revenge or gaining leverage in a contested divorce or child custody case. The courts provide certain protections for domestic violence victims who are going through a divorce and, if you have been accused of abuse against your spouse, the court may grant your spouse sole custody of your children and sold residence in the family home, even if the abuse allegations are false. Without an assertive, competent Arkansas domestic violence defense attorney on your side, you could end up going to jail, being forced from your home, and/or losing custody of your children, even if you did nothing wrong.
Contact a Skilled Arkansas Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer
Arkansas domestic violence cases tend to be emotionally charged and legally complex, and the outcome of your case can have a considerable impact on the rest of your life. If you are found guilty of domestic violence in Arkansas, you could face significant jail time and other penalties. You will also be branded a violent offender and carry with you the stigma of abuse, which could damage your personal and professional relationships, make it illegal for you to possess a firearm, or possibly even cost you your job. If you are facing criminal charges for domestic violence in Arkansas, you need to act quickly to protect your rights and defend yourself against the allegations. When you hire a domestic violence defense attorney to represent you, he or she will immediately get to work investigating your case and building a compelling defense that challenges the prosecution’s evidence against you.