Sebastian County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Sebastian County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Sebastian County.
Sebastian County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Sebastian County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Sebastian County Criminal Court and the judge will read the charges that were filed against the defendant. The judge will also read the rights the defendant has and ask the defendant if they understand both the charges filed against them and their rights as a defendant in the case. In Sebastian County a plea of Guilty, Not Guilty or No Contest may be entered. In a guilty or no contest plea the sentencing of the defendant may take place at the same arraignment hearing or a later date may be scheduled for sentencing. For a not guilty plea, a date will be set for a trial.
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.
What is Jury Deliberation?
After both the prosecution and defense have presented their cases, the judge in the case will provide instructions to the jury about what they must decide. The jury will be dismissed to the jury room where they will deliberate about the guilt or innocence of the defendant. After reaching a unaminous decision, they return their decision to the court where it is read aloud in the courtroom. If the jury is unable to reach a unaminous decision, the jury is deadlocked, also known as a hung jury, in which a mistrial will be declared.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Sebastian County you may be able to enter into a plea agreement depending upon the severity of the charges. It is also dependant upon the prosecution willing to accept a plea agreement. You can ask your attorney to attempt to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution to avoid having a jury trial along with the potential for a more serious sentence. Approximately 9 out of 10 criminal cases usually end in a plea agreement.
Sentencing in Sebastian County
In Sebastian 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.
Who can help me in Sebastian County?
For general information about your case the Sebastian County court clerk will be able to provide legal information about your specific criminal case. Legal information is not legal advice though, the court clerk will only be able to provide information about your case, like date/time of hearings what will occur at the hearing and what you may be required to do in the hearing. They cannot provide advice about what you should do or what the best legal options may be for your particular case. Only an attorney can provide legal advice and this is your best place for information about your specific criminal proceeding. If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney to represent you, a judge will appoint an attorney to represent you, this is most often a public defender.
Required Court Appearances in Sebastian County
Any required court appearances in Sebastian County Criminal Court must be attended by the defendant. Failure to appear in court at your required date and time may result in the judge issuing an arrest warrant.
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.
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.
Where will Sebastian County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Sebastian County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Sebastian County.
Prosecutor in Sebastian County
In Sebastian County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Sebastian County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Arkansas. For the most part, the prosecutor in Sebastian County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
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.
Sebastian County Criminal Court Locations
Sebastian County Circuit Court
Address: 901 S “B” St, #205, Fort Smith AR 72901
Phone: 479-782-1046 Fax: 479-784-1580
Sebastian County Circuit Court
Address: 301 E Center St, #103, Greenwood AR 72936
Phone: 479-996-4175 Fax: 479-996-6885
Sebastian County District Court – Barling
Address: Phone: 479-452-1550, x211 Fax: 479-452-5568
Sebastian County District Court – Central City
Address: 1101 Hwy 255, Central City AR 72941
Phone: 479-452-6680 Fax: 479-452-6295
Sebastian County District Court – Fort Smith
Address: 901 S “B” St, #103, Fort Smith AR 72901
Phone: 479-784-2420 Fax: 479-784-2438
Sebastian County District Court – Greenwood
Address: 301 E Center St, PO Box 925, Greenwood AR 72936
Phone: 479-996-6501 Fax: 479-996-1175