Very few experiences can be as harrowing and unsettling as being taken into custody on criminal charges. In fact, most people who are detained by the police or who stand the risk of being taken into custody are bound to have innumerable questions on the processing of adult offenders in Arkansas and the laws that are laid out to protect people who have yet to be proven guilty in the court of law.
Although the AR criminal process is similar to that used in other states and theprocedure starts with the issue of arrest warrants, here is information on the vital steps that will be followed after the occurrence of a criminal act that will help you to understand the crime handling procedure of Arkansas.
It would be a grave folly to assume that cops always need AR active warrants to take an accused into custody. In fact, this rule only applies to misdemeanors that have been committed in the absence of a law enforcement agent. In other words, if a police officer was a witness to a crime, the accused can be taken into custody without an active warrant.
Furthermore, if the offense in question is of a felonious nature, cops can make arrests as long as they have probable cause to believe that a specific individual has committed the said legal transgression. If an outstanding warrant is required to detain the offender, the local criminal court has the exclusive jurisdiction to issue such an order.
There are two ways to handle the offender after he has been pursued, a citation can be issued which commands him to show up in court at a certain date; this is the approach that will be taken in case of minor infractions. However, generally, a person will be placed under police detention and will have to go through a bail hearing to secure his release or if the charges filed against him were misdemeanor related, he will have to pay the bond amount mentioned on the arrest warrant, if at all.
Regardless of whether an accused is taken into custody on the basis of an arrest warrant or not, Miranda Rights do apply to all arrestees. So, a detainee cannot be forced into confessing. Also, police officers are legally obligated to advise the offender of his right to remain silent and tell him that anything he says will be held against him in the court of law.
Within 48 hours of arrests, offenders are escorted to the local criminal tribunal for a bail hearing. The judge will review the original affidavit filed in court for the issue of the arrest warrant and consider several other factor before granting release under bond. The factors that will make a difference to the chances of procuring bail have been listed in Rule 8.5 of the AR Criminal Procedure and these include:
- The employment status, financial condition and the criminal history of the defendant
- Past and current residences
- Character and reputation
- Nature and type of family relations
- People who are willing to assist him in attending court sessions
- Nature of the current and past charges brought against this individual
- Pending trials and prior criminal and arrest records
- Possibility of violating the terms of bonded release
- Ties with the community
While some defendants are released on OR meaning own recognizance which isbondless release, usually a bail is set depending on the seriousness of the crime that the person is being accused of. Bail can be set in terms of cash bond or corporate or cash surety.
Pretrial court sessions
The next step of the criminal process involves an arraignment hearing where the defendant is formally advised of the charges being sought against him and he is expected to enter a plea which can be not guilty, guilty or no contest. A plea bargain may come into the picture at this point depending on the case framed by the prosecution and the evidence available with the defense attorneys that refute the claims of the state.
This is an arrangement drawn up by both sides which saves the judicial mechanism precious time. Through this agreement, the defendant agrees to the lesser or the same charges brought against him in return for a decreased sentence. If the plea bargain is accepted, the case does not go to trial but directly to sentencing.
An omnibus hearing is held if the defendant enters any plea other than guilty. This is a pretrial hearing in which the evidence available with the state is once again weighed in light of the probable cause requirement. It is also possible for the defendant to change his plea at this point.
Trial and Sentencing
The trial is the finale of the whole gamut of processes that precede the actual presentation of the case in front of the jury. Although a speedy trial is guaranteed to all defendants by the constitution of Arkansas, the exact time that it may take will vary from one case to another. However, in case of a guilty verdict, the sentencing which is carried out by the judge will be done within 30 days of the verdict.