This is the next post in our series on challenging arrest warrants after a defendant has been taken into custody. Our last article discussed the process of challenging an Arkansas arrest warrant. It is important to realize that challenging a warrant may, under the right circumstances, lead to the dismissal of a case. In this post we will discuss the possibility of filing for post-conviction relief if a change in law applies to the defendant’s arrest warrant. Post-conviction relief (otherwise known as filing for a writ of habeas corpus) is an area of the law which many attorneys do not handle and it is best to retain someone with experience in such matters. Contact our Little Rock criminal defense lawyers today for assistance.
We have previously discussed the process of filing for post-conviction relief in Arkansas. A change of the law is a ground in which a defendant may request a writ of habeas corpus. In other words, if an accused is convicted, and either the Arkansas or United States Supreme Court then change the law in a way which would have invalidated the defendant’s original arrest warrant, then it may be possible to overturn the defendant’s conviction. It is important to understand that once the law is changed a defendant will only have a limited amount of time to file for post-conviction relief. If a defendant lets their deadline pass then they will not be able to file for relief even if they have a legal basis for doing so.
There are many situations in which a change of law may lead to a writ of habeas corpus. Say, for example, an arrest warrant was issued based on information provided by a confidential informant. Now say, after the defendant was convicted, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision which limited the way in which officers may rely on such informants. Depending on the circumstances and facts it may be a situation where the earlier arrest warrant would not have been issued under the latter legal standard. If this is the case then it may be possible to have a warrant retroactively invalidated through post-conviction relief. This could lead to a dismissal of the charges against the defendant.
Few areas of criminal law are as complex as those involving arrest warrants and the Fourth Amendment. It can be even more complex when trying to determine whether a change in the law should apply to a warrant which had been issued prior to the change. When attempting to bring such a challenge it is crucial that you retain counsel who has experience in such matters. Our attorneys have over twenty-five years of combined experience in handling such matters and know what to expect from the process as your case moves forward. 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.