Does this office supervise or conduct criminal investigations?
No. Investigations are conducted by a law enforcement agency. We receive the officers’ reports and make a decision whether or not to file a charge.
How do I file criminal charges against an individual?
If you are victim of a crime or believe a crime has occurred, please contact the police department where the crime happened. The police will investigate and file a complaint if sufficient evidence is found. These complaints are then forwarded to the Lonoke County Prosecutor’s Office for prosecution. If the police department tells you that the crime is a misdemeanor, you will have to file charges with the District Court in the town where the crime occurred.
Will I have to testify?
It is most likely that you will have to testify in court. If you would like to meet with the Deputy Prosecuting Attorney assigned to your case before court, please contact our office as soon as possible to make an appointment.
How long will the prosecution take?
All cases vary in how long it takes to dispose of them, but most cases will last a few months to a year. However, there may be times when a case will last longer.
Will the defendant by present?
Yes. The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution gives the accused the right to personally be present for all court proceedings.
What happens at an arraignment?
This is the first appearance a defendant makes in court unless the person is in custody. The judge will inform the defendant of the charge and take the defendant’s plea.
What is a pretrial hearing?
At the pretrial hearing, the defendant and his attorney usually advise the judge whether the defendant wants a trial or will plead guilty. Certain motions concerning legal issues may be heard at a pretrial hearing. Occasionally, a witness may be needed in a pretrial hearing.
Can I give a deposition for my statement in court?
No. The law states that you must be present to testify in criminal court.
How can I contact the prosecutor assigned to my case?
If you are a victim or a witness, you can call 501-676-2807. You will need to know the defendant’s name. The prosecutors are often in court all day, so please be prepared to leave a phone number where you can be reached both before and after 5 p.m.
What if someone threatens or tries to intimidate me into dropping charges?
Such a person may be guilty of a felony offense. Call the law enforcement agency that investigated the case originally or contact the deputy prosecuting who is handling the case. Call as soon as possible, so the threats are documented and action is taken to prevent a reoccurrence.
I am a defendant in a criminal case; can I speak to the Prosecutor directly?
If you have retained an attorney or had one appointed for you, we cannot speak with you directly as this is prohibited by the Rules of Professional Responsibility. If you are representing yourself, remember that anything you say may and can be used against you in Court.
I received a subpoena to appear in court, what should I do?
A subpoena is a court order directing a person to appear in a court at a stated date and time, usually for the purpose of giving testimony. If you receive a subpoena, you are required by law to appear as instructed. If you refuse to appear, the Court does have the authority to issue an order for your arrest.
How do I obtain legal advice or assistance?
The Prosecutor’s Office is not permitted to provide legal advice to the public.
I am a victim in a criminal case and I want to drop the charges. Can I do that?
The decision to drop charges in any criminal prosecution can only be made by the prosecutor. If you would like to discuss your case, please call our office.
Negotiated Pleas-Will this case be “Plea bargained?”
The term “plea bargain” is unfortunate in that it is misleading to the public and implies that the defendant and his attorney have managed to have his charges reduced or receives a light sentence. A plea bargain is an agreement between the State, the defendant and his attorney that the State will recommend a specific punishment in the case, if the defendant will enter a plea of guilty. The agreement as to punishment is not binding upon the judge, who may impose any punishment within the range authorized. There are advantages to both the State and the defendant in arriving at such an agreement in many cases. If you are concerned about a plea agreement in your case, contact the Prosecuting Attorney’s office immediately.
When can I have my property returned?
Property, which has been stolen during the commission of an offense, can often be restored to the owner prior to the trial. However, there are times this cannot be accomplished particularly if the property is currency or if it in some manner directly indentifies the perpetrator of the crime. Contact the agency that investigated the case to determine whether your property may be returned to you. Property retained and introduced into evidence at the trial can be restored after trial or at the conclusion of the appeal.
What if a defense attorney contacts me about the case?
Defense attorneys or investigators seeking to discuss the case with you may contact you. While you are free to speak about the case with anyone you chose, you are not required to do so. If you decide to discuss the case with the defense attorney, we would like to have someone from our staff present during the interview. You are not required to discuss the case with a representative of the defense and may decline to do so. If you wish, you may simply refer the defense attorney to our office for any information he/she wants and decline to discuss the case.
Does the Judge appoint investigators for the defense in criminal cases?
In some cases, private investigators assist defense attorneys in case preparation. In no case will the investigator be working for the judge. Require anyone who claims to be investigation for the judge or court to show identification and be sure to examine it closely. Call our office before you talk about the case if you have any doubts. You are under no legal duty to discuss the case with a defense investigator.