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Arkansas Violent Crimes Rise to Highest Level in Three Decades

Arkansas is suffering an unprecedented increase in commission of violent crimes. In 2020, they reached their highest level since the late 1980s, exceeding the national rate for the 16th straight year. Although various root causes have been suggested, the numbers show that Arkansas law enforcement is acting aggressively to prosecute such offenses.

According to recently released FBI statistics, violent crimes in Arkansas rose by 15.6 percent from 2019 to 2020, compared to a national increase of 5.2 percent. In addition, the state homicide rate was up 36 over the same period, continuing a steady rise that began in 2010. While some experts point to pandemic-related social and economic changes as causes of the nationwide spike in violent crime, local experts suggest that population growth in small cities like Conway and Jacksonville might be a factor contributing to the increase in state numbers.

Violent Crimes in Arkansas

Violent crimes are felonies that involve using or threatening to use physical force against another person. In Arkansas, they include the following offenses:

  • Homicide —This category includes the felony crimes of capital murder (Class A), first-degree murder (Class Y), manslaughter (Class C), negligent homicide (Class B) and physician-assisted suicide (Class C).
  • Domestic battery — In Arkansas, domestic violence can constitute battery in the first degree, which can be charged as a Class B or Class A felony depending on the circumstances.
  • Kidnapping — This crime is typically charged as a Class Y felony but may be reduced to Class B if the restrained person was voluntarily released before trial.
  • Aggravated assault — Defined as an attack on a person that creates a substantial danger of death or serious physical injury, this crime is charged as a Class D felony.
  • Rape — This is the highest degree of sexual assault, involving forcible compulsion or a victim deemed unable to consent due to age or to physical or mental incapacity. Rape is charged as a Class Y felony in Arkansas, punishable by 10 to 40 years or life in prison.
  • Robbery — If force is used during the commission of a theft, the crime is charged as simple robbery, punishable as a Class B felony. If the defendant was armed with a deadly weapon or attempted to inflict serious physical injury on another, the prosecution may bring charges for aggravated robbery, which is a Class Y felony.

In addition to prison time and probation, a defendant convicted of a felony can also face substantial monetary fines.

If you’ve been arrested and charged with a violent crime in Arkansas, it’s crucial to have the representation of a defense attorney experienced in these cases. There are several defenses that may be raised, such as that the defendant was acting in self-defense or under duress. Other possible defenses include mistaken identity and involuntary intoxication.

Located in Little Rock, James Law Firm is committed to providing high-quality legal services and aggressive advocacy for anyone facing criminal charges in Arkansas. Call (501) 375-0900 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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