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Criminal Law

Criminal Law

Being charged with a crime can be one of the most difficult and trying experiences for an Arkansan. Whether a plea needs to be negotiated or a trial needs to happen, our firm is equipped to handle your criminal law issue.

Criminal Law can be broadly divided into three categories: Traffic, Misdemeanor, and Felony. The first of these is a rare area for a criminal law attorney to practice. With that said, certain persons, namely those with either a high number of points on their license or commercial drivers, can have their ability to transport themselves or even their livelihood taken away. It is these two categories of people that would require a criminal law attorney’s help. If you think you fall into one of those two categories, make sure to call an attorney before taking any offer. Failure to do so may put your livelihood at risk.

The second category, which has some overlap with traffic, is misdemeanor criminal law. These are violations that can be punished with less than a year in prison and a fine. This can include offenses like a DUI, or a simple possession charge, or even minor assault. DUI aside, the main thrust of practice in this area of criminal law is to fight if possible, and negotiate to maintain a clean record when not. On many misdemeanors, expungement is available in as little as sixty (60) days after the completion of one’s sentence. This excludes DUI and assault, among several other charges, but the principal applies for most misdemeanors. Failing that, the first-time offender rule allows a case to be taken under advisement, and upon completion of one’s sentence, the charges are dismissed. As noted, it is vitally important to maintain a clean record. If any form of crime shows on one’s record, it can mean the difference between getting a job and not getting a job, can affect one’s custody rights, and can even cause a person to lose their job in certain circumstances.

The third category is felonies. These are violations that can be punished with more than a year in prison, including everything from serious possession all the way to murder. While my firm does not handle capital cases (we would be glad to refer to another attorney more qualified in the matter), any other variety of felony criminal law we are glad to handle. The priorities here are, again, defending if possible, and otherwise minimizing time served in prison and reducing the charges to misdemeanors when possible. Unlike misdemeanors, felonies generally cannot be expunged, and can serious damage your ability to get a job, have custody of your children, even own a gun. Such serious matters absolutely require the services of an attorney. Don’t let your freedom go without a fight, call us today for a free consultation.

K2/Spice Possession

Relatively new to the criminal justice system in the State of Arkansas are K2/Spice offenses. Indeed, in some jurisdictions said offenses are eclipsing marijuana itself in terms of the number of cases filed. Police and the criminal justice system frequently treat said cases identically to any other charge, yet they are not even remotely similar. 

The tickets written and the papers provided on such cases simply refer to the substance as "K2/Spice," which is the rough equivalent to writing "dope" as the substance when it is marijuana, cocaine or heroin. K2/Spice, from a legal perspective, are meaningless words in and of themselves. Instead, a person charged with such an offense is being charged with possession of a very specific set of chemicals which are in fact illegal in Arkansas. The police just have no offhand method of identifying the substance.  For reference, K2/Spice can encompass a wide variety of chemicals which may or may not be on the list of restricted substances promulgated by the Arkansas Department of Health.  To discover whether or not the substance is restricted, an analysis using a mass spectrometer is necessary, which in practice is almost never done.

The latter fact is fascinating because that means that there are a large number of people being charged with possession of a completely unknown substance, which may or may not be illegal at the time they actually possessed it.  Given the nature of K2/Spice and the methods in which the chemicals are made, it is unlikely that the K2/Spice possessed by a person arrested for it is actually illegal at the time of possession.  However, when a person pleads guilty to possession of this type of substance, there is no standard of proof to be met by the prosecution, allowing many people to be convicted and even imprisoned for something that was at least technically legal.

That does not mean that an otherwise unlisted substance is not illegal, of course. The Department of Health lists whole classes of substances that can be illegal by merit of being similar to a listed substance.  However, the explanation of why a substance is or is not similar is so vastly complex that it would take a doctorate level chemist to prove the case.  The burden is unbelievably high, and it is too simple to counter the State's evidence in these cases. That is putting aside the as-yet untested argument that the analogues rule is likely unconstitutionally vague, as some of the chemicals that could be found to be an analogue are widely dispersed in nature and even the human body.

If you or someone you know has been charged with misdemeanor or felony possession of K2/Spice, possession with intent to distribute, or any other crime related to these substances, please give us a call.  Consultations are free and payment plans are available.

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