Clark County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Clark County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Clark County.
In a jury trial in Clark County, after both the prosecution and defense have rested, the judge will give instructions to the jury and jury deliberations will begin. The jury will convence in a private room to discuss and deliberate the innocence or guilt of the defendant. Once the jury arrives at a unimanous decision, they will inform the judge that they have reached a decision. They will return to the court and the verdict will be read aloud. If the jury cannot reach a unaminous decision, the jury is said to be deadlocked and a mistrial will be declared in the case.
A Plea Agreement, sometimes known as a Plea Bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and the defendant, where the defendant pleads guilty or no contest often in exchange for a lesser charge or lighter recommended sentence. A large majority of criminal cases end in a plea agreement. In Clark County you can inform your attorney to negotiate with the prosecution to attempt to come to a plea agreement, but this is dependent upon the charge severity and also the prosecutors willingness to accept a plea deal.
Arraignments in Clark County
During an arraignment in Clark County, a defendant appears before the court and the judge reads the charges that have been filed against the accused and also informs the defendant of his/her rights. During the arraignment in Clark County, the defendant can choose to plead one of the following 1) Guilty 2) Not Guilty or 3) No Contest. If the defendant enters a plea of Not Guilty, a date for trial is set. In the event of a Guilty or No Contest Plea in Clark County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
Clark County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Clark County will take place at the Clark County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Clark County Criminal Court Locations.
Sentencing in Clark County
In Clark County if the defendant is found guilty (by trial or plea), the defendant will be sentenced. This sometimes occurrs immediately after being found guilty, but can also take place at a later date. In most instances, a judge will impose the sentence that is requested by the prosecution, but they also have the descretion to impose a different sentence.
Mandatory Appearances in Clark County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Clark County, the defendant must appear before the court. In the event of a “Failure to Appear” the judge may issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant. Note: not all criminal hearings are mandatory, in a non-mandatory hearing an attorney may appear on your behalf without you being in court.
What if I can’t afford an attorney?
The 6th Amendment guarantees you the right to an attorney whether or not you can afford one. If you cannot afford one, a public defender will be appointed by the court to represent you.
Who is the prosecutor for Clark County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Clark County criminal cases will either be a representative of Clark County or a representative from Arkansas. After reviewing evidence it is the prosecutor’s decision whether to file charges or drop a case. Most prosecutors have the ability to negotiate plea bargains, and determine how the case will be prosecuted.
Jury by Trial Right
The US Constitution (Article 3 along with the 6th Amendment) ensures an accused defendant the right to a jury trial. This applies to crimes that have a $500 fine or a potential sentence of six months in jail (aka Serious Crimes). This right to trial by jury can also be waived by a defendant.
Where can I get help for my Clark County criminal case?
The 6th amendment of the United States Constitution provides a criminal defendant with the right to an attorney. As read in the miranda rights, this means that if a defendant cannot afford to hire a private attorney a legal attorney will be appointed to the defendant to represent him at no cost to the defendant. This is often a public defender. In addition, the court clerk for Clark County will also be able to provide general information about a specific criminal case. The clerk can only provide information and is not an attorney so they cannot provide legal advice, only a licensed attorney can provide legal advice about what the best options for are for your particular case.
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof is always on the prosecution in a criminal trial. In other words, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. The defense must only prove that there is a reasonable possibility that the defendant did NOT commit the crime. If the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury will be instructed to find the defendant not-guilty.
Can I appeal a guilty verdict?
If found guilty, a defendant may decide to appeal his case to an appelate court. The appellate court will not retry the case, they will examine the proceedings in the lower court to make sure they were done in a legal manner. The appellate court can either uphold the original conviction, or determine that due to errors made in the original trial, that there must be a retrial, resentencing or a complete dismissal of the charges.
Clark County Criminal Court Locations
Clark County Circuit Court
Address: Courthouse Square, 401 Clay St, Arkadelphia AR 71923
Phone: 870-246-4281 Fax: 870-246-1419
Clark County District Court – Amity
Address: 309 W Thompson St, Amity AR 71921
Phone: 870-342-5368 Fax: 870-342-6284
Clark County District Court – Arkadelphia
Address: 412 Crittenden, PO Box 449, Arkadelphia AR 71923
Phone: 870-246-9552 Fax: 870-246-1415
Clark County District Court – Caddo Valley
Address: 137 Malvern Rd, Arkadelphia AR 71923
Phone: 870-246-8283 Fax: 870-246-5729
Clark County District Court – Gurdon
Address: 103 Maple St, Gurdon AR 71743
Phone: 870-353-2221 Fax: 870-353-5202