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Frequently asked questions
I’ve never been arrested before and I was just arrested - what do I do?
If you find yourself in a position where you have been arrested or cited to Court and you have never been in trouble with the law before, there are a few things you need to know. If you are facing felony charges in Arkansas, the Court will require you to have an attorney represent you. If you cannot afford an attorney, the Court will provide one. If you have questions about the differences between a Court-appointed attorney and a private attorney, click here. If you have been cited or arrested on a misdemeanor charge, you may not qualify to have a Court-appointed attorney represent you but it’s still important to meet with an experienced criminal defense attorney to review your case so that you understand your options and the best course of action.
Whether you have been arrested for a felony or a misdemeanor offense, you should talk to one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys. With over 35 years of combined criminal law experience, including years of experience as a prosecutor, our attorneys will make sure that you have a game plan for your case and can tell you what to expect. We often have a wide range of options available to us in negotiating your case with the prosecutors in determine what to do with your case after you are arrested, so it’s important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible to protect your Constitutional rights and start working towards a resolution.
Should I stick with the Public Defender?
Public Defenders are attorneys who are appointed by the Court to represent those that do not have the means to hire an attorney. Often time Public Defenders are every bit as competent and experienced in representing their clients in criminal cases as attorneys in private practice; they have graduated law school, passed the Bar Exam, have a law license, and have criminal law experience. What they don’t have is endless time and resources due to the number of cases assigned to them and increasing demands of their time. Often times Public Defenders work on their clients’ cases with diligence but and care but may have limited time to communicate with their clients if the case is not scheduled in the near future. After all, they could have about 30 or more clients set every Court date with 8-10 Court dates per month. Lastly, since Public Defenders are only appointed to represent indigent defendants, if you believe you have the means to hire a private attorney you should do so.
The skilled Arkansas Criminal Law attorneys at the Story Law Firm have experience as prosecutors, public defenders, and in private criminal defense at all levels and have experienced the demands of having hundreds of Court hearings each month. If you hire one of our criminal defense attorneys, you can be confident that your attorney will not only handle your case with care and attention but we will commit to being available to communicate updates on your case as well. We will always call you backand walk you through what your charges mean and the specific strategy for your case. Schedule an appointment with one of our criminal defense attorneys to review your case with you and let you know what our services will cost.
We’re getting pulled over or I am about to be arrested, what do I do?
If you think you may be arrested for whatever reason, you have the right to remain silent. It is almost always in your best interest to exercise that right and respectfully tell the police officer that you do not want to answer any questions and you want to speak to an attorney. You may still be obligated by law to comply with an officer’s requests so always be polite, calm, and respectful. Always do what the officer tells you to do, even if you think it was wrong. If you are arrested, your criminal defense attorney will have more options in representing you if you do not speak to the police about your charges. If you get arrested for a felony or misdemeanor, call one of our experienced attorneys to see what your options are.
I’ve heard that if I get a DWI I’ll have to go to jail, is that true?
A DWI in Arkansas is a very unique charge. DWIs cannot be dismissed by the prosecutor and carry mandatory jail time in most cases. They can also carry a mandatory license suspension that will automatically happen if you do not speak to an attorney soon enough after you are arrested for a DWI. If you find yourself charged with a DWI it is important that you speak with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys to make sure you are getting the best outcome possible. Our attorneys have years of experience prosecuting and defending DWI charges so don’t go to Court for your DWI before speaking with an attorney who can handle your case and possibly keep you from going to jail.
I am a Veteran and I have some serious charges, can you help?
Veterans who have served in combat often times have lasting effects from their experience that can cause them to do things that they otherwise would not do. What this means is that if you are a combat Veteran and you find yourself charged with a felony, you may have options available to you that others do not. However, you need to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your options. Northwest Arkansas has resources available to you through the VA and our attorneys have the experience working with the VA to utilize those resources to help you with your criminal charges.
I am in Drug Court but the Judge set me for “Termination,” who should I talk to?
Our attorneys have unique experience that few other Northwest Arkansas criminal defense attorneys have in that they are experienced in Drug Court Termination hearings. If you are in Drug Court but have been set for a Termination hearing and would like to speak to a private attorney to represent you, call one of our attorneys to review your case before facing that hearing. Our Arkansas Criminal Law attorneys have handled hundreds of Drug Court hearings and know the options you have. We have the necessary experience and knowledge to guide you through this process, however, when handling Drug Court Termination hearings, time is of the essence. The sooner you meet with one of our attorneys, the better chance you have of staying in and receiving the benefits of a Treatment Court program.
One of my family members is in jail, can you help him?
If you don’t have criminal charges yourself but have a family member who has been arrested and is in custody at one of the County jails, we can help. When someone is arrested and held in a County jail, they see a bonding Judge within a few days of their arrest. The Judge will make a determination on the bond amount to set based on several factors you can read about here. Typically, this hearing happens without an attorney involved to argue facts or factors that may help in getting a lower bond so that making bond is more likely. The sooner you can call one of our Arkansas Licensed Criminal Law attorneys to represent you or a family member in a criminal case, the better your chances are of getting a lower bond set by a Judge and being released.
Additionally, if you have a warrant for your arrest but want to know what will happen before you turn yourself in or are arrested, call an experienced criminal defense attorney to help arrange and facilitate the process. The sooner your attorney is involved the greater the likelihood of having a positive outcome.
I missed my Court date/ I have a warrant, what will the Judge do? Do I have to go to jail?
If you missed your Court date for whatever reason, you most likely have or will soon have a warrant out for your arrest for failing to appear for your Court date. You may even face separate misdemeanor or felony charges depending on your case. If you know that you missed a Court date or think you may have a warrant for your arrest, call our office sooner rather than later to speak with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys to give you the best chance at clearing up a warrant before you are arrested.
Why is my bond so high?
After an arrest is made, the police will bring him or her to a bond hearing within a few days after the arrest. A bond Judge will read a summary of the charges, facts, and circumstances that led to the arrest called a Probable Cause Affidavit. The bonding Judge will then review certain personal factors relating specifically to the person arrested in determining a bond to set. The bond set by the bond Judge will remain in place, at the earliest, until your first Court date and possibly even after your first Court date. That is why it is so important that you or a family member to speak to one of our criminal defense attorneys as soon as you can after being arrested.
Bond hearings happen after every arrest unless you are issued a citation to a Court date. If you missed a Court date or if you think you may have a warrant,
I was arrested on one charge, then it changed - what happened?
Our attorneys get this question a lot: “My paperwork said my charges were ________ but in Court they said my charges were different.” When someone is arrested, the police list the charges for which probable cause exists in a Probable Cause Affidavit that is created by the arresting police officers. This is the document the bonding Judge sees and the vehicle that brings a person to Court.
The charges in the Probable Cause Affidavit are only the basis for the arrest and inform the Judge of the nature of the charges a person is facing. The Prosecutor’s Office will then review the charges and the facts and make charging decision and file a document called a Criminal Information, which is the formal charging document in a felony case. If you have questions about what you have been charged with or could potentially be charged with, make an appointment to speak with one of our Arkasnas Licensed criminal defense attorneys.
My minor child was just arrested or given a Court date? What do I do?
If your son or daughter under the age of 18 was arrested or given a citation at school or otherwise, we can help you understand the process and try to get your child a positive outcome. Our attorneys have spent years navigating the juvenile code in delinquencies and FINS cases with success and have even spent time training police officers in how to handle Juvenile cases. A whole separate set of rules and procedures applies to Juvenile cases that can be frustrating and difficult to understand, even for experienced professionals and the process moves far faster than other criminal cases. If your son or daughter has been given a Court date call one of our experienced attorneys to represent him or her in Court.