This is the next post in our series on the handling of fraud cases in Little Rock, Arkansas. Our last article discussed frequent issues in defending fraud charges. It is important to understand that if the police violated your rights then any evidence they obtained as a result can be excluded from Court. Such exclusion may result in the charges against you being reduced or dismissed. In this article we will discuss another important topic – taking a case to trial. If you are charged with fraud of any sort then it is important that you contact a criminal defense attorney immediately.
The procedure in a fraud trial will vary depending on whether you are charged with a misdemeanor, a felony, or whether you face federal criminal charges. For the purposes of this article we will assume that you are facing a felony in Arkansas State Court. Even if you are charged with a misdemeanor it is crucial that you take the matter seriously.
Trial will begin with the selection of a jury. The jurors are selected out of a pool of people from the community. Your lawyer and the prosecutor will be able to ask questions of potential jurors to learn about their biases, their background, and to determine whether they are capable of being fair and impartial. The Judge will also ask questions of the candidates. If it is clear and obvious that a potential juror cannot be fair in the matter then the Judge can remove the candidate for “cause.” Each side will also be given a number of challenges which they may use to remove candidates from the jury pool. It is not permissible to strike a candidate for reasons such as race, gender, religion, etc. Once the jurors have been selected then the jury will be empaneled to hear the case.
There are two key issues which the prosecution must prove at a fraud trial. The first is that the defendant actually committed a criminal act. The second is the value of the property or money which was taken. If the case involves taking money then, for obvious reasons, determining value is simple. If, however, the matter involves the taking of property then it becomes necessary to determine the property’s value. It may be necessary to retain an expert to testify in regards to value, depending on the specifics of the case.
At the close of evidence the jurors will deliberate and issue a verdict of guilty or not guilty. If the defendant is convicted then the Judge will set a date for sentencing and the sentence imposed will be up to the Court. It is crucial that you have counsel who is familiar with the trial process and who is comfortable in presenting facts to a jury. Our Little Rock criminal lawyers have over twenty-five years of legal experience and regularly take cases to trial. We take a team based approach to problem solving which assists us in ensuring that no stone goes unturned in your defense. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation. We also handle matters in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Springdale, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Conway, Rogers, Pine Bluff and throughout the rest of the state.