In many states, when a criminal case goes to court, the prosecuting officer representing the government's interests in pursuing criminal charges is typically known as the district attorney (D.A.). The D.A. works with local law enforcement to gather evidence. They present misdemeanors and more serious charges like violent crimes and DUIs or DWIs in court. They take cases through trial. Arkansas calls their D.A.s "district prosecuting attorneys."
Learn about the role of Arkansas' district prosecuting attorneys and how to contact your regional prosecutor below.
The Role of Arkansas' District Prosecuting Attorneys
The first thing to understand when you're facing criminal charges is that the prosecuting attorney's office is your adversary. This is the case even if they are willing to work with you to resolve your case before trial. This means that anything you share with them or their investigators can be used against you at trial.
This is one of the reasons why the right to counsel, or your right to a defense lawyer, is so important to the criminal justice system. Your right to an attorney is so crucial that prosecutors often hesitate to speak or negotiate with you unless an attorney is present. After all, any infringement on that right can be the basis for a successful appeal if you are convicted of a crime.
Communicate With an Arkansas District Prosecuting Attorney
Communicating with a D.A.'s office can be tricky. However, doing so through a criminal defense attorney could yield some important benefits for your case. For example, it could lead to a plea bargain deal, which could resolve your case without trial. Accepting a plea agreement may not be in your best interest, especially if the prosecution has a weak case. Of course, this will depend on the evidence in your case and whether the prosecution can prove, beyond any reasonable doubt, all of the elements of the crime or crimes charged.
Reaching out to the D.A.'s office may reveal their theory of the case and the evidence they plan to use at trial. This isn't something they would volunteer to you, but an experienced defense attorney could pick up on this during negotiations. This information can help to shape your defense strategy. For example, your attorney could focus their efforts on discrediting the evidence used by the D.A. at trial.
Arkansans with low incomes have access to justice through public defenders and Arkansas legal services.
A public defender offers legal services to individuals charged or convicted of crimes who cannot afford a private lawyer. During the arraignment, a judge evaluates your financial status to decide if you qualify for a public defender's assistance. If eligible, the judge will assign one to your case.
The office of the public defender is not lawfully permitted to provide legal advice until officially appointed. Public defenders handle criminal cases, including felonies, misdemeanors, and mental health hearings. They can't help with divorce, child support, or child custody matters.
Public defenders are attorneys. They are members of the Arkansas Bar Association. They are licensed by the state of Arkansas. They have the same education and meet the same requirements as attorneys employed by private law firms.
Residents of Arkansas can also benefit from the services of a federal public defender. These attorneys defend individuals in federal court cases. If you face a federal criminal charge or are under a grand jury investigation, you can ask a federal judge to assign you counsel. The appointment is based on your income. This appointment comes directly from the court.
It's important to understand the limitations of federal public defenders. They do not:
- Prosecute or bring charges against individuals
- Provide representation in state courts
- Deal with civil cases
- Submit grievances or complaints against others or governmental entities
Help with civil matters is available through Legal Aid of Arkansas. The organization provides free legal services to Arkansans with low incomes. Their practice areas generally include:
- Domestic Violence
- Economic Justice
- Consumer Rights
In addition to the above, there are also self-help resources for non-criminal issues. These resources provide Arkansas residents with legal information so that they can represent themselves.
Arkansas Attorney General
The Arkansas Attorney General (A.G.) represents the entire state in litigation and other legal matters. The A.G. also enforces laws protecting state residents.
Directory of Arkansas District Prosecuting Attorneys
Arkansas is divided into 28 judicial circuits, each covering at least one county. The following links will help you get in touch with the appropriate prosecuting attorney's office.
Note: Although we strive to provide the most current contact and website information available for the D.A. offices in this state, this information is subject to change. If you have found contact or website information that is not current, please contact us.
Talk to a Lawyer Before Talking to an Arkansas District Attorney
Before you speak with the local prosecutor's office or a criminal investigator, you should always meet with a criminal defense attorney to understand your rights and how to protect them throughout the process. Get in touch with an experienced Arkansas criminal defense attorney near you today to discuss your case and get personalized legal advice.