Ouachita County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Ouachita County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Ouachita County.
I need help for my Ouachita County criminal case
The best place to get information about your criminal case is from an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you which will assist in your case. For general information about your case the Ouachita County court clerk is able to provide general information about your specific case (e.g. date/time hearings, mandatory appearance, what will take place and what you will be required to do). The court clerk for Ouachita County will NOT be able to provide legal advice for your case, only an attorney can provide legal advice. The court clerk can provide legal information (like the information found on this website) about your case but cannot provide advice about what you should do in your legal manner.
What happens in Ouachita County at an arraignment?
In Ouachita County the defendant is brought into court and informed by the judge of the charges that have been filed against them along with informing them of their rights. At this time, the defendant can plead guilty, not guilty or no contest. If the defendant pleads guilty or no contest, there will be no trial and the defendant may be sentenced immediately or at a later date. If the defendant pleads not guilty a trial date is set.
In a jury trial in Ouachita 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.
Appealing a Criminal Conviciton
A defendant may appeal a criminal conviction to an appellate court. In an appeal, the actual trial is not redone, but the appellate court hears arguments that the criminal case was not handled in a legal manner at the original criminal court. The appellate court can either uphold the conviction, or determine that errors were made and may request a retrial, a resentencing of the defendant or that the charges be dismissed.
Ouachita County Required Court Appearances
In Ouachita County, there are both required and non-required court appearances for the defendant. At a required or mandatory appearance hearing, the defendant is required to appear in person before the court. Failing to appear at your required hearing may result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest by the judge.
Who is the prosecutor for Ouachita County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Ouachita County criminal cases will either be a representative of Ouachita 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.
Right to Jury Trial
For “Serious Crimes”, those that can have a potential penalty of 6 months in jail OR a minimum $500 penalty, the US Constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury. This is guaranteed by Article III of the Constitution and the 6th Amendment. The accused has the ability to waive their right to trial by jury.
What is a Plea Agreement?
A plea agreement is a deal made between the prosecution and the defendant in a case, where the defendant agrees to plea guilty to a particular charge in exchange for some concession from the prosecutor. In practice, more than 90% of criminal cases end with a plea agreement.
Sentencing in Ouachita County
In Ouachita 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.
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.
Where will Ouachita County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Ouachita County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Ouachita County.
Right to an attorney
The US Constitution’s Sixth Amendment ensures the right to an attorney regardless of whether or not you can afford one. In Ouachita County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Ouachita County Criminal Court Locations
Ouachita County Circuit Court
Address: 145 Jefferson St SW, Camden AR 71701
Phone: 870-837-2230 Fax: 870-837-2252
Ouachita County District Court – Bearden
Address: PO Box 134, Bearden AR 71720
Phone: 870-687-2204 Fax: 870-687-3555
Ouachita County District Court – Camden
Address: 213 Madison St, Camden AR 71701
Phone: 870-836-0331 Fax: 870-837-5530
Ouachita County District Court – Chidester
Address: 118 Willow St, PO Box 26, Chidester AR 71726
Phone: 870-685-2906 Fax: 870-685-2876
Ouachita County District Court – East Camden
Address: PO Box 3046, East Camden AR 71701
Phone: 870-574-2900 Fax: 870-574-2905
Ouachita County District Court – Stephens
Address: PO Box 8, Stephens AR 71764
Phone: 870-786-5818 Fax: 870-786-5749