Arkansas Criminal Records
In Arkansas, criminal records play a significant role in maintaining public safety and ensuring transparency within the justice system. These records provide a comprehensive account of an individual's criminal history, shedding light on past offenses and legal interactions.
Arkansas Criminal Records typically include arrests, charges, convictions, and sentencing details. In addition, these records may contain fingerprints, mugshots, physical descriptors, and personal identifying information. Furthermore, they may uncover information about court proceedings, probationary periods, parole status, and registered sex offender status.
The availability of criminal records in Arkansas to the public holds great importance in a society governed by justice, accountability, and safety principles. It empowers individuals, employers, and organizations to make informed decisions while considering matters of safety and trust.
For instance, employers can utilize these records to conduct background checks on potential employees, ensuring a secure work environment. Landlords may refer to criminal records to assess the suitability of prospective tenants, ensuring the safety of other residents.
Additionally, individuals may consult these records to make informed decisions about personal relationships, professional collaborations, or even neighborhood safety.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) governs the public's accessibility to criminal records in Arkansas. This law ensures that certain government records, including criminal records, are available to the public upon request.
However, certain restrictions and privacy considerations exist to safeguard the rights and reputations of individuals. For instance, certain juvenile records may be sealed or inaccessible to the public to protect young offenders' rehabilitation and prospects.
Similarly, authorities typically redact sensitive personal information such as social security numbers or financial details to prevent identity theft or fraud.
What Are the Types of Crimes in Arkansas?
A person's criminal history in Arkansas includes specific convictions and frequently encompasses the following types of crimes:
In Arkansas's justice system, felonies are serious offenses that can result in state prison sentences.
Arkansas lawmakers have established a classification system to differentiate the severity of these crimes, categorizing felonies mainly into five groups: Class Y, A, B, C, or D. However, certain felonies fall into the unclassified category. For these unclassified felonies, the specific sentence is in the corresponding criminal statute.
Class Y Felonies
Class Y felonies are the gravest offenses in Arkansas that do not carry the death penalty. If found guilty of a Class Y felony, individuals may face a significant prison sentence ranging from ten to 40 years or even life imprisonment. Some examples of Class Y felonies in Arkansas include the following:
- Concurrent possession of a firearm
- Drug trafficking
Class A Felonies
Class A felonies in Arkansas are met with stringent penalties, including imprisonment for six to 30 years and a fine reaching up to $15,000. If someone is guilty of Class A felonies, such as conspiracy or possessing controlled substances for distribution, they will be subject to these punishments.
Class B Felonies
Following the laws of Arkansas, a Class B felony carries a sentence of imprisonment ranging from five to 20 years, along with a potential fine of up to $15,000.
An example of a Class B felony is the deliberate utilization of a deadly weapon to inflict severe harm upon a family member, constituting domestic battering in the first degree. Other examples include possession of a firearm by a felon and forgery.
Class C Felonies
In the legal framework of Arkansas, a Class C felony has a potential prison term ranging from three to ten years, accompanied by a fine that can reach up to $10,000. Some offenses under this category include a battery, property theft valued between $5,000 and $25,000, and failure to appear.
Class D Felonies
Class D felonies in Arkansas carry a potential sentence of up to six years of imprisonment and a fine of $10,000. It includes offenses like possessing controlled substances or drug paraphernalia, aggravated assault, and defacing a firearm.
In Arkansas, misdemeanors encompass offenses with a maximum punishment of up to one year of confinement in a county or local jail. The state categorizes misdemeanors into Class A, B, or C based on the severity.
Additionally, there are misdemeanors classified as unclassified, meaning their specific punishment is within the corresponding criminal statute rather than falling into a predetermined category.
Class A Misdemeanors
Class A misdemeanors in Arkansas are the most significant offenses under misdemeanor categories. Individuals convicted of Class A misdemeanors may face penalties that involve a maximum jail term of up to 1 year and a fine reaching a maximum of $2,500.
Examples of Class A misdemeanors in Arkansas include first-degree promoting prostitution and property theft worth $1,000 or less.
Class B Misdemeanors
In Arkansas, people guilty of this misdemeanor type can go to jail for up to 90 days and pay a fine of up to $1,000. This category encompasses a range of offenses, including acts such as cyberbullying or engaging in the public display of obscenity.
Class C Misdemeanors
Class C misdemeanors in Arkansas are classified as the least severe under misdemeanor categories, although they still represent significant offenses. Convictions for Class C misdemeanors can lead to a maximum jail term of up to 30 days and a fine not exceeding $500. Examples of Class C misdemeanors include third-degree assault and public intoxication.
How Does Probation Work in Arkansas?
Probation is an alternative to incarceration, allowing individuals convicted of crimes in Arkansas to serve their sentences while remaining in the community under the supervision of a probation agency. The Arkansas Community Correction (ACC) supervises probation in the state, ensuring compliance with court-ordered conditions and promoting successful reintegration into society.
The court determines the eligibility for probation that an offender may receive. When individuals are placed on probation in Arkansas, they must adhere to certain conditions outlined by the court. These conditions may vary depending on the nature of the offense and the individual's circumstances.
Common conditions of probation include regular reporting to a probation officer, maintaining employment, refraining from illegal activities, attending counseling or treatment programs, and paying fines or restitution. Additionally, individuals on probation may be subject to drug testing, curfews, and restrictions on travel or association.
The probation officer plays a crucial role in monitoring the individual's progress, providing guidance, and ensuring compliance with the conditions of probation. When a probationer in Arkansas violates the terms of their probation, probation officers are responsible for taking appropriate action to address the violation.
In Arkansas, the court also decides how long a person will be on probation. Probation terms typically range from a few months to several years.
It is worth noting that probation is not a guarantee and can be revoked if individuals fail to meet the conditions or violate the terms of their supervision. Non-compliance may result in consequences such as additional sanctions, modification of probation conditions, or incarceration.
How Does Parole Work in Arkansas?
Parole in Arkansas is the conditional release of a prisoner before the completion of their sentence.
It is not an inherent right but a privilege granted after carefully evaluating an inmate's conduct and progress during incarceration. In Arkansas, the parole process is meticulously structured and administered by the Arkansas Department of Corrections (ARDOC). The Parole Board reviews eligible inmates and determines whether they should be granted parole.
Generally, inmates with Arkansas Criminal Records, like homicide, rape, first and second-degree sexual assault, first-degree battery or domestic battery, kidnapping, aggravated robbery, and simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms on or after January 1, 1994, are eligible for discretionary parole.
The Parole Board reviews their case comprehensively once an inmate becomes eligible for parole consideration. This evaluation examines various aspects, such as the inmate's institutional behavior, participation in rehabilitative programs, educational achievements, and work history while incarcerated.
When the Parole Board grants parole, they release the inmate from custody and assign a parole officer to supervise them. The parole officer monitors and supports the parolee's reintegration into society. They provide guidance, establish conditions of parole, and ensure compliance with the terms set forth by the Parole Board.
During the parole period, parolees must adhere to specific conditions to promote responsible behavior and reduce the likelihood of reoffending.
These conditions may include regular meetings with the parole officer, maintaining steady employment, attending counseling or treatment programs, refraining from substance abuse, and avoiding contact with victims or co-defendants.
Failure to comply with these conditions can result in parole revocation, leading to the parolee's return to prison to spend the rest of their term.
How Does Expungement Work in Arkansas?
Expungement in Arkansas is a legal mechanism designed to seal or erase certain past convictions or arrests, thus removing a criminal record's associated stigma and barriers.
Under this legal proceeding, once granted, an individual's criminal record will be sealed and treated as confidential, ensuring they are no longer accessible to the general public.
Individuals must first meet specific eligibility requirements to request expungement in Arkansas. Therefore, not all Arkansas Criminal Records are eligible for expungement in the state.
What Records Can Be Expunged in Arkansas?
In Arkansas, several records are eligible for expungement, depending on the following circumstances and the offense committed:
If an individual was arrested but not charged or convicted, they may be eligible to have their arrest record expunged.
Acquittals and Dismissed Charges
Suppose an individual has had charges against them dismissed or has been acquitted in court. In that case, they may meet the eligibility criteria for expungement, allowing for removing any record related to the arrest or charges.
Nolle Prosequi or No-Billed Cases
If a case is nolle prosequi (Latin for "will no longer prosecute") or no-billed by a grand jury, the prosecution has decided not to proceed. In that case, the individual may be eligible for expungement.
Probation or Jail Sentence
Upon completing probation, being committed to the ARDOC with a judicial transfer to the ACC, or being committed to a county jail for an offense eligible for community correction placement, the court has the authority to order the expungement of the offender's record.
Drug Court Probation
If an individual has completed a drug court program and undergone aftercare programming, they may be eligible for expungement.
Possession of a Controlled Substance
In cases where a defendant pleads guilty to possessing a controlled substance, the court can impose probation for a minimum period of one year. Upon fulfilling all the terms and conditions of the probation, the court must discharge the person and dismiss the proceedings against them.
Generally, non-violent misdemeanor convictions such as petty theft, drug possession, DUI (driving under the influence), and public intoxication are eligible for Arkansas expungement.
Non-Violent Felony Offenses
Some non-violent felony offenses are eligible for expungement. Examples include drug offenses, white-collar crimes, forgery, and theft, as long as they are non-violent.
There is often a waiting period after completing the sentence before becoming eligible for expungement in Arkansas. The length of the waiting period can vary based on the offense and is typically specified in the state law. But for most eligible crimes, it is five years.
Note that certain records are not eligible for Arkansas expungement. These include sexual offenses involving victims under 18 years old, manslaughter offenses, Class Y felonies, Class A or B felonies (excluding drug offenses), unclassified felonies with maximum sentences exceeding ten years, and other violent felonies.
Expungement Process in Arkansas
Once an individual determines their eligibility, the next step is to file a petition for expungement with the court that handled their original case. The petition typically requires detailed information about the case, including the case number, the charges, and the outcome.
Filing the petition may incur any fees depending on the county court. The court clerk can provide instructions on filling out the forms and guide the individual through the process. It is also advisable to seek assistance from an attorney for legal guidance.
In addition to the application, individuals must submit supporting documents, such as proof of completion of any court-ordered programs, certificates of rehabilitation, or letters of recommendation.
After filing the petition, the petitioner or their representative will send copies of the filed petition to the prosecutor and the arresting agency. Anyone who objects to the petition must file a notice of opposition with the court within 30 days of the petition filing, explaining their reasons for opposing.
The Arkansas court may grant the petition without a hearing if there's no filed opposition. However, if there is opposition, a hearing will be scheduled where the individual will appear before a judge.
When the judge decides that the record should be expunged, they will proceed to sign an order affirming the expungement. Subsequently, the petitioner must file the signed order with the court clerk for official documentation and implementation.
How To Obtain a Criminal Record in Arkansas
In Arkansas, obtaining a criminal record requires navigating specific procedures and utilizing available resources.
Local jurisdictions in Arkansas generate and manage criminal records, taking on the responsibility of disseminating them to individuals who express interest in accessing such information.
However, the Arkansas State Police (ASP) operates a central repository of Arkansas Criminal Records, making it the primary source for obtaining them. Two significant ways to get criminal records from ASP are online and by mail.
The most convenient way to access criminal records in Arkansas is through the Online Criminal Background Check System (OCBCS) of the ASP. Qualified parties must create an account with the Information Network of Arkansas (INA) to use the system or the online database. This registration is necessary to ensure the security and confidentiality of the criminal records.
Alternatively, civilians and certain entities qualified by law can opt for a traditional method of requesting criminal records by mail. To do so, a requester must submit a mailing request along with the appropriate fee per record. Incorporating a correctly filled-out background check form is vital when submitting a mailing request.
When it comes to the cost of requesting a background check, it varies depending on the type of background check required. Generally, in Arkansas, the state name-based background check requests incur a higher fee than those opting for fingerprint-based background checks.
While obtaining public criminal records for free is possible, it is essential to note that they may contain incomplete information. Free sources of public criminal records may not provide the same level of accuracy and comprehensiveness as the official databases.
Therefore, individuals seeking detailed and reliable criminal records are advised to utilize the services provided by the ASP to ensure the information's accuracy and integrity.
What Are the Criminal Background Check Laws in Arkansas?
Criminal background checks have become integral to various decision-making processes, whether for employment, housing, or volunteer work. These checks aim to ensure the safety and security of individuals and organizations by assessing an individual's criminal history. However, certain restrictions and guidelines are in place to protect the record holder's rights.
In Arkansas, criminal background checks are regulated by both state and federal laws. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is the primary federal law governing background checks.
Before doing a background check on a person, an employer must get written permission from that person under the FCRA. The employer must inform the individual in writing that they will conduct a background check and that the information obtained may be used for employment purposes.
Suppose an employer chooses an adverse action, such as denying employment, based on the background check results. In that case, they must provide the individual with a copy of the report and a summary of their rights under the FCRA.
In addition to federal laws, Arkansas has its regulations regarding background checks. The Arkansas Fair Credit Reporting Act (AFCRA) complements the FCRA and provides additional protections to individuals.
Moreover, following the Arkansas Code 16-90-1417, individuals who have obtained a court order to seal their Arkansas Criminal Records have the right to deny any arrest or conviction related to the sealed criminal offense. The law prohibits custodians of sealed records from disclosing such information, as outlined in Arkansas Code 16-90-1416.
Counties in Arkansas
- Hot Spring
- Little River
- Saint Francis
- Van Buren
Police Departments and Sheriffe Office in Arkansas
List of Content
- What Are the Types of Crimes in Arkansas?
- How Does Probation Work in Arkansas?
- How Does Parole Work in Arkansas?
- How Does Expungement Work in Arkansas?
- How To Obtain a Criminal Record in Arkansas
- What Are the Criminal Background Check Laws in Arkansas?