Bentonville Criminal Defense Lawyers
Putting Our Years of Experience to Work for You
Title 5 of the Arkansas Code Annotated enumerates various types of conduct considered criminal offenses. Depending on the circumstances, the crimes can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies. Thus, anyone convicted can face incarceration, fines, loss of driving privileges, loss of voting or gun rights, and other sanctions. Additionally, being found guilty can lead to a bevy of collateral consequences, such as the inability to obtain gainful employment or to qualify for government benefits. The impacts of a conviction can be costly and long-lasting. If you've been accused of a crime, it's crucial you turn to a seasoned lawyer to handle your case.
At Norwood & Norwood, P.A., our Bentonville criminal defense attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience. We have defended more than 35,000 people in various cases, from speeding tickets to murder, and have obtained optimal outcomes for past clients. Also, our team consists of former deputy prosecutors, which means we know how the opposition prepares for and presents cases. With our knowledge and experience, we provide a robust defense and can aggressively fight your charge. We are ready to seek a favorable outcome on your behalf, working toward avoiding or minimizing the penalties you could face.
Steps in an Arkansas Criminal Proceeding
For many, the criminal justice system can be a confusing and frightening place. Various laws and rules dictate what can and can't be done. Without a complete understanding of everything involved in resolving a criminal matter, a person can make a misstep that substantially impacts the outcome of their case. That's why it's vital to have sound counsel through it all.
Every situation is unique, but in general, a criminal case may go through the following stages:
- Arrest: An arrest can be made in a couple of ways. A judge, having reasonable cause to believe a crime was committed, may issue an arrest warrant. However, if a law enforcement officer observes a person committing an offense or has reasonable cause to believe that a felony or specific traffic crime has been committed, they can make a warrantless arrest. In some cases, the suspected individual won't be arrested but will receive a summons to appear in court.
- Search and seizure: During the arrest/investigation stage, the suspected individual may be subject to a search and seizure. In most cases, law enforcement officials need a warrant to engage in such conduct, but some matters are exempt from this requirement, such as when an officer observes evidence of a crime or when the individual gives consent.
- Probable cause hearing: If a person was subject to a warrantless arrest, the court will hold a probable cause hearing to determine whether their being taken into custody was lawful.
- Initial appearance: After a person has been arrested, they will be scheduled for an initial appearance. During this first hearing, the judge will inform them of the charge and their rights. They may also make a pre-release inquiry to determine what conditions they need to order to ensure that the defendant returns to court for future hearings. The judge may set bail or release the defendant on their own recognizance.
- Pleading: During their earlier court appearances, the defendant will be asked to enter a plea. They can plead guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendere. The defendant can wait until they've hired a lawyer before entering their plea.
- Plea agreements: The prosecuting attorney and defense may enter into negotiations to resolve the case before trial. The judge is not part of this stage, and the defense attorney must ensure that their client understands the plea before accepting it.
- Trial: If the case isn't settled by a plea agreement, it will go to trial. The defendant may have a trial by court or by jury. During this step, the prosecuting attorney will be trying to prove guilt by providing evidence supporting their arguments. At the same time, the defense will be countering the allegations by presenting their own evidence and casting doubt on the prosecution's case.
- Sentencing: If the court or jury decides that the defendant is guilty (or if the defendant enters a guilty or nolo contendere plea), the case will move to sentencing. This stage is where the judge determines what penalties to impose. The range of punishments they may assess is enumerated in the statute for the alleged offense.
At Norwood & Norwood, P.A., our Bentonville criminal defense lawyers can fully explain each stage in the criminal justice process and help you understand the courses your case can take.
Types of Cases We Handle
When it comes to criminal matters having an experienced attorney guiding you throughout the process is essential. Whether you've been charged with a traffic offense or a violent crime, we can help. We collaborate on the cases we handle, and our team leader, Doug Norwood, gives his input and insights. This means, when you hire us, your matter will be approached from various angles and several options will be explored.
Our criminal defense attorneys in Bentonville defend a variety of cases, including, but not limited to:
- Drug possession
- Sex crimes
- Suspended driver's licenses
- Traffic violations
- Violent crimes
Why Turn to Norwood & Norwood, P.A.?
Our firm has a solid reputation in the legal community. The people of Northwest Arkansas voted us BEST NWA CRIMINAL LAWYER, NWA Democrat-Gazette. Attorney Doug Norwood has received an AV Preeminent® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell® and the Best Lawyers in America® recognition. Additionally, previous clients have left favorable reviews about the legal representation we provide.
When we take on a case, we seek to:
- Get the charge dismissed
- Obtain a not guilty verdict
- Avoid jail or prison time
- Get zero or low fines
- Protect our clients' rights