Little Rock Criminal Law Blog

Weighing the pros and cons of a plea bargain

Last week, we provided a brief overview of the plea bargaining process. Plea bargaining is a process in which someone charged with a crime pleads guilty to that crime-or a lesser crime-in exchange for pre-defined, lenient treatment from the prosecution.

A plea bargains offers certain advantages to everyone involved. It allows the judge and prosecutor to avoid a trial and gives them more time to focus on other cases. It also gives the defendant the opportunity for a lighter sentence and a less serious criminal record.

Arkansas man charged with drug crimes

A man is facing a litany of charges following a bizarre incident in Jonesboro, according to authorities. Arkansas police arrested the 27-year-old man after he was found allegedly trespassing on private property while brandishing a sword. The man faces drug crimes charges as well as several other charges associated with his alleged actions. So far, no court date has been announced. 

The arrest report states that, at around 6 a.m. on the morning of Dec. 5, police were called by a homeowner who said the accused man attempted to enter his residence while carrying a Japanese katana as well as a guitar and skateboard. Police found the man walking nearby after the homeowner apparently chased him off, where they seized his weapon and apprehended him. Police on the scene say the man was incoherent and behaving in a manner consistent with methamphetamine use. 

Understanding the plea bargaining process

Plea bargaining is a frequently used tool in the American legal system. It's estimated that plea bargains occur in nine out of 10 criminal cases-thereby preventing these cases from ever going to trial. If you've been accused of a crime, it's important that you understand what plea bargaining entails. Here are the basics:

What is a plea bargain?

Methamphetamine penalties in Arkansas

Methamphetamine abuse has become an increasingly pervasive problem across the country in recent years, and Arkansas is no exception.

Arkansas law divides controlled dangerous substances into six categories (Schedules I-VI) based on how addictive they are and how likely they are to be abused. Schedule I drugs have the highest potential for abuse and include drugs such as opiates and hallucinogens. By contrast, marijuana belongs to the Schedule VI classification. Drugs with higher abuse potential come with higher penalties.

U.S. Supreme Court case may impact cell phone data privacy

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides protection to all people from unreasonable search and seizure of their person, home, papers and effects. In the more than 200 years since this document was drafted, a lot has changed in terms of how we define privacy. In the modern era, there is a question of whether "papers and effects" also encompasses property such as digital data.

A case recently heard by the U.S. Supreme Court raises the question of whether people's cell phone content is entitled to the same privacies as other tangible property. The court's ruling-which is expected next summer-could change how the law deals with issues of digital privacy.

2 Arkansas residents charged with drug crimes

Two residents of Jacksonville have been placed under arrest after police allegedly found drugs inside a home, according to local sources. Arkansas authorities arrested a 36-year-old woman and a 39-year-old man, both of whom now face charges pertaining to drug crimes. As of this report, the woman appears to have been released from custody, but the man remains behind bars in a county jail. No court date has been announced. 

According to the police report, officers responded to a complaint of a possible narcotic use at a home in Jacksonville. When they arrived, they were met by the woman at the door while the man allegedly tried to escape out the back door. Upon entering the residence, which they say smelled strongly of marijuana, they found two teenagers, ages 14 and 15 respectively, in the living room. 

Probation and parole revocation on the rise in Arkansas

If you've been convicted of a crime, getting probation or parole can seem like winning the lottery. You've avoided going to jail, and you want to be sure to do everything in your power to keep it that way. If you live in Arkansas, you're going to want to be especially careful to follow the terms outlined by the judge, because the judicial system doesn't take breaches lightly.

In 2015, more than half of all inmates in the Arkansas prison system-approximately 9,700 people-were serving time for violating the terms of their probation or parole. That's nearly twice as many as in 2009. One-third of this group was serving time for strictly "technical violations." That is to say, they hadn't been arrested for having committed another crime, but rather, they broke some other technical condition, such as missing an appointment with a probation/parole officer.

Violent crimes: Arkansas man charged with murder

A man police say fatally shot another man before attempting to shoot himself is being detained by officials. Arkansas police arrested the 34-year-old man after he allegedly attempted a murder-suicide in early November. As with most violent crimes, police are still investigating the particulars of this case, and according to the report, no court date has been announced. 

Police say a 34-year-old man entered a residential home on Nov. 2 in Ash Flat, apparently carrying a gun. Police are still determining the reason the man entered the home, but they suspect he intended to rob the residence. In the course of this attempt, a gun was apparently discharged, and another man in the house was shot and injured. The 34-year-old then apparently attempted to turn the gun on himself, though it is unclear what stopped him from committing suicide. 

Understanding the federal laws against identity theft

In the wake of the Equifax breach earlier this year-which compromised the personal information of half of all Americans-identity theft has become a growing concern. "Identity theft" refers to the crime of fraudulently taking and using of someone's personal data for personal gain. Today we examine the federal legislation surrounding this crime:

The statutes

Why witness testimony isn't trustworthy

Facing accusations of having committed a violent crime places your future in the balance. Arkansas prosecutors and detectives have told you the evidence is stacking up against you, and they have eyewitnesses who will testifying to seeing you at the scene of the crime. They may tell you that the confidence of the eyewitness means that your best bet is to accept a plea and the sentence that goes with it.

However, before you surrender and prepare for years behind bars, you may want to learn more about how unreliable witness testimony can be. In fact, recent studies show that eyewitnesses are often wrong.

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