This is the next post in our series on the handling of juvenile offenses in Little Rock, Arkansas. Our last article discussed our state’s differences between juvenile and adult offenses. It is important to understand that, while the two systems bear many similarities, there are also many differences. One of the key differences is that a Judge has greater discretion when sentencing a youth. It is crucial that you retain a criminal defense attorney familiar with handling such matters. In this article we will discuss another key issue – dealing with prosecutors after a young person has been arrested.
Prosecutors in juvenile offenses are obligated to handle the matter in a way that is meant to “guide” the child back on an appropriate path. In practice, however, dealing with prosecutors in a juvenile matter is similar to doing so in an adult case. A period of plea negotiations will take place between arraignment and trial. Whether the prosecutor will recommend a period of incarceration or probation, as part of plea negotiations, will depend largely on the nature of the offense. Crimes involving acts of violence will more likely be met by a prosecutor’s requesting incarceration. Crimes involving more minor issues and matters of addiction will be more likely to result in an offer of probation.
A youth’s attorney will base negotiations, in part, on the strength of the defense’s case. If defenses are available then it may be possible to obtain a better plea offer. Such defenses can include claims of self defense (in cases which involve violence), the possibility that evidence can be suppressed due to law enforcement’s violations of the youth’s Fourth or Fifth Amendment rights, and other possible issues (such as mistaken identity). It is important that one stay in contact with their defense attorney so that they are aware of their possible defenses.
Contact our office today to speak with a Little Rock juvenile lawyer. Our counsel have over twenty-five years of combined legal experience and have handled many cases involving young offenders. In addition to Little Rock, we also handle matters in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Springdale, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Conway, Rogers, Pine Bluff and throughout the rest of the state.