Arkansas Game and Fish Violations 

How will a Game and Fish violation affect my hunting rights, and can I go to jail for a violation? 

Game and Fish violations are grouped into five levels of violations. Each level carries different fine amounts and possibilities of county jail time. However, the most important part is the amount of points each violation carries with it. The points will directly affect your ability to legally hunt and fish in the state of Arkansas. Furthermore, the points are reciprocal in 46 other states, this means if you can not hunt due to points violations in Arkansas, you are also unable to buy a tag in another state and hunt.  

Class 1 Fine of $100 to $1,000 and a jail sentence of 0 to 30 days. 

  • Class 1 violations carry 6 points 

Class 2 Fine of $250 to $2,500 and a jail sentence of 0 to 60 days. 

  • Class 2 violations carry 12 points 

Class 3 Fine of $500 to $5,000 and a jail sentence of 0 to 90 days. 

  • Class 3 violations carry 18 points 

Class 4 Fine of $750 to $7,500 and a jail sentence of 0 to 180 days. 

  • Class 4 violations carry 30 points 

Class 5 Fine of $1,000 to $10,000 and a jail sentence of 0 to 1 year. 

  • Class 5 violations carry 99 points 

The court has the option to impose community service rather than giving you jail time for the offence. Having an attorney experienced in game and fish violations can greatly reduce the risk of jail time, community service hours and points on your license.  

How do the points impact my hunting and fishing rights? 

Points are looked at over a period of years. If you get 12 or more points in a three-year period, you are not eligible to participate in any game and fish permit hunts. If you get eighteen or more points in a five-year period, your hunting and fishing rights will be suspended by the AGFC. 

Points in 5 years Length of Suspension from hunting and fishing 

18-29 1 year  

30-362 years 

37-753 years 

76+5 years 

99 (this happens in class 5 offences)Lifetime Suspension 

How do convictions for AGFC violations differ from other criminal convictions? 

The main difference is how the AGFC defines a conviction.  In a normal criminal proceeding only a guilty or no contest is treated as an actual conviction, meaning you could enter an agreement where you initially pled guilty and in exchange for successfully completing a duration of probation, the court would dismiss your charges at the end of the probation. This is not the case with AGFC violations.  

The AGFC has the authority to define a conviction differently than a criminal court does. What this means is almost anything other than a not guilty or a pass to dismiss without a plea can be considered a conviction for purposes of assigning you points to your license.  

How can I reduce the points on my hunting and fishing license? 

It is extremely important that you hire an attorney that has the proper understanding and knowledge of the AGFC violation system so that your rights are adequately protected 

An experienced attorney can negotiate the points system and work to put you in the best position to help protect your hunting and fishing rights.  If you are facing a AGFC violation, please contact us for a free consultation so you can better understand how to protect your ability to hunt and fish.  

Stopped at a DWI checkpoint in Arkansas?

DWI checkpoints have their own special sets of rules for the police to play by.  Unlike a traditional traffic stop for which turns into an arrest for driving while intoxicated, a sobriety checkpoint must follow its own set of rules.

How does a traditional traffic stop occur?

In a traditional traffic stop, the police officer is required to develop reasonable suspicion that a traffic offence has been committed to initiate a stop and make contact with the driver of the vehicle. That reasonable suspicion can come from many things such as a defective light on the vehicle to the manner of driving (speeding, weaving, etc…).

Do police need reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle at a sobriety checkpoint?

For a sobriety checkpoint stop to occur, the officer does not have to observe any type of driving that would normally give rise to a stop. The officer can simply stop vehicles passing a certain point without regard to whether or not they have reasonable suspicion to believe the person has committed a traffic offence.

How are police able to stop your vehicle without reasonable suspicion?

For a sobriety checkpoint to be lawful, a few rules must be followed by the police who are conducting the sobriety checkpoint. First, the plan for the checkpoint must have been previously designed by supervising officers before the checkpoint is setup. Second, the purpose of the previously established checkpoint plan must have a neutral objective. If the police follow these rules, the sobriety checkpoint will most likely be upheld as a valid checkpoint.

What happens after I arrive at the sobriety checkpoint?

Just because you are stopped at a valid checkpoint and have been drinking, does not mean your DWI case is doomed. Attacking the validity of the checkpoint is just one on the many pieces of a DWI case that must be attacked by your defense attorney. The checkpoint just gets the police past the first hurdle which is the initial stop. The officer must now be able to articulate a reason to further investigate the driver. Some of the reasons for further investigation may include the officer smelling alcoholic beverages in the vehicle or on the person driving or seeing a container of alcohol in the vehicle. Once the officer has found some reason to extend the stop for further investigation, they will now move into a more traditional DWI stop. The officers will likely conduct a PBT (portable breath test) to see if the driver appears to have any alcohol in their system.  If alcohol is present, the officer will likely move on to the standard field sobriety test such as the HGN, walk and turn, and the one leg stand. At this point, the officer must make the decision to let the person go or to arrest the person for suspicion of DWI. If you are arrested, you will likely be taken to the police station to preform a breath test on an intoximeter to determine your blood alcohol level.

What do I do if I was arrested at a sobriety checkpoint?

The first thing to do after your arrest is to contact an experienced DWI lawyer. Here at wh Law, we have a team of defense attorneys ready to fight for your rights. We have several former prosecutors who know how to protect your freedom and provide you with experienced and aggressive representation. If you have been arrested for a DWI or DUI, call us today.

In 2013 Arkansas passed what is referred to as the Universal Misdemeanor Sealing Act. This allowed most misdemeanors to be sealed 6o days after the successful completion of the sentence.
The process before involved drafting and submitting a petition to seal, as well as an order to seal, along with a $50.00 filing fee payable to the court clerk.

Now for the good news. The legislator has done away with the required wait time to seal a conviction. Act 680 states misdemeanors may be sealed immediately after completion of probation, and class D and class C felonies which are non-violent may also immediately be sealed.
As for the order to seal being entered, the court did have 90 days after the filing of the petition to execute the order to seal. Now, Act 57 reduces that possible wait time to 30 days after the filing of the petition to seal.

What does all this mean? Effectively, it means you can get your record clean quite a bit quicker than the original act allowed. As it currently reads, you can shave almost six months off the process of getting your record sealed.

If you or someone you know needs help with getting a conviction sealed, please call or text us anytime.

Divorce is a difficult subject. Perhaps finding a family lawyer is not something you expected to do. While there are many questions to ask and issues to consider, below are a few items you should cover during a family law consultation.

How much will my divorce cost?

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be clear on exactly what services you will receive for any quoted price. If a small retainer is required to get started, how quickly will additional fees be incurred? Does the attorney offer flat fees (one price for everything), or only work by the hour? What charges will be incurred by administrative staff, other attorneys, filing fees and serving the other party? Are these included in the quoted price?

How will we communicate and how often?

Does the attorney offer text messaging, a secure portal client portal for messages and documents, provide a web-based calendar for self-scheduling phone calls, email or do they stick to the traditional “call my office staff and ask if I’m available” model?

With so many communication options available today, your attorney should offer multiple points and methods of communication. With the stress of a divorce, it may feel like you need constant contact with counsel. While that is not practical or beneficial to your case, receiving updates and knowing you can reach out for answers is a great benefit and provides peace of mind during a trying time.

Who will handle my case, and can I meet them?

Are you dealing with a single attorney or a law firm? Will your assigned attorney be the only person working on your case? Will administrative staff, such as paralegals, or other attorneys be involved?
Hiring a solo practitioner may appear to be an advantage, because one attorney is dedicated to your case. However, a firm with multiple family law practitioners may provide better coverage, additional insight into your case and have a secondary attorney prepared to step in for a meeting, hearing or address a problem that arises unexpectedly. If other staff members will work on your case, ask to meet them. Be comfortable with the entire team.

Are you prepared to take my case to trial?

Many divorces reach a settlement agreement without a final hearing (trial). However, an attorney that is uncomfortable in the courtroom may give up more ground to avoid trial, opposing counsel may know their reputation or realize they are facing an unskilled trial lawyer. Any of these factors can negatively impact your results at the bargaining table or in the courtroom.
What can I do now to help my situation?

After the consultation you should be aware of the next steps to move your case forward. How should I interact with my spouse and children? What should I do with money, assets, or credit accounts? Will there be a domestic restraining order? A domestic restraining order maintains the financial status quo by preventing either party from spending assets, taking out a loan in the others name or selling property. Should I continue, start or stop paying any bills, support payments or other expenses?
Have a clear understanding of what your next moves should be after your attorney is hired.
There are many other questions you should ask a potential attorney, and that they should ask you. But these are a few critical topics that are important to your case.

When you are ready to speak to a family law attorney, we offer free consultations by phone and in-office. We offer text, web and phone appointment scheduling and a several communication options for our clients. We look forward to working with you.

The short answer – Yes, if you follow the proper steps.

Now that Arkansas has passed a medical marijuana law and is issuing cards to those that can properly obtain prescriptions from their doctors, you can use marijuana just like any other prescribed drug you would normally take for your health and that you would normally be allowed to use while serving probation.

What do I need to do to make this happen?

First, get a medical marijuana card. Next, you will need to present that card to your probation officer and request permission for your prescription to be added to your file. The Probation officer will then have to submit a request to the judge over your case to approve the use of marijuana while on probation.

Once the judge has approved the use, you can use your prescription just like any other prescription.
If you have any issues getting approval to use your medication while on probation, give us a call and we will be glad to help.

Can nurses lose their license if they refuse to drug test?

Lots of nurses want to know if they’ll lose their licenses for refusing to take a drug test. The short answer is yes, you can lose your license if you refuse to take a requested drug test.

However, it is a little more complicated than that.  If a nurse has been asked to take a drug test by their employer, refusing is a violation of the nurse practice act. The employer will likely report the refusal to the Arkansas State Board of Nursing.  This will lead to an investigation into the nurse’s work history.

If a nurse refuses to take a drug test, the Board will send a letter to the nurse with a request for the nurse to surrender their license for a 1-year period.

Should I surrender my Nursing License?

In most cases, the nurse should not surrender their license.  Especially in cases where the only violation of the nurse practice act is the refusal of a drug test.  When refusal to take a drug test is the basis for the violation, a consent agreement with the board can likely be reached where the nurse does not lose their license. Instead, they are placed on probation and will have to comply with certain rules.  

What about Consent Agreements?

The down side to entering a consent agreement is the nurse will have their license flagged with a violation.  However, as of November 2018, the Arkansas State Board of Nursing has adopted a new system. The Alternative to Discipline Act allows a nurse to enter a probationary type period and complete certain tasks assigned to them by the Board in exchange for not having their license flagged.   One of the requirements to be eligible for the Alternative to Discipline Program is the nurse must self-report the violation. There are other requirements that go along with self-reporting, which is why it is important to contact a knowledgeable attorney as soon as any potential issues with your nursing license appear.

What is Title 9?

Title 9 is a group of federal statutes that governs rules of conduct for individuals enrolled in educational institutions, among other things.  Title 9 deals with sexual harassment, dating violence, discrimination, stalking, and sexual misconduct. The group of laws forces a university to investigate and respond to any of the above types of incidents.

What happens in a Title 9 hearing?

First there is an opening statement by the appealing party (the party who didn’t like the school’s response to one of the above listed incidents), then opening statement by the non-appealing party (usually the school), next witnesses for the school will be called in whatever order the school wishes to present the witnesses, then closing statements by both sides. In most cases, all witnesses will be asked to leave the room until it is their turn to testify.  Rulings are usually taken under advisement and handed down within ten days following a formal hearing. That just means the court usually thinks about how to decide the case for a few days after the hearing, and likely won’t make a decision on the spot.

What is the legal standard in a Title 9 hearing?

In an Arkansas Title 9 hearing, the standard of evidence is preponderance of the evidence. This basically means the court will choose the side of whichever party is more likely to be telling the truth, based on the evidence.   

What does an attorney cost for a Title 9 hearing?

Most Title 9 hearings are full day hearings.  Our firm charges a flat fee of $3,000 to represent you through a Title 9 hearing.

Who is in charge of a Title 9 issue at an Arkansas University?

The Title 9 coordinator at a university is in charge of the university’s compliance with Title 9 of the educational amendments of 1972. The Title 9 coordinator works with the university staff and students to ensure compliance with Title 9.

Do I need an attorney for a Title 9 issue?

Yes, definitely. Title 9 violations run parallel with multiple criminal violations. Also, the police can use anything that happens in a Title 9 investigation or hearing in a criminal investigation.  An experienced Title 9 attorney will be able to advise you on your rights and how a Title 9 case may affect a looming criminal case. It is important to have someone who is knowledgeable about criminal law and Title 9 standards when you are preparing to fight accusations of violating Title 9.  

What can happen if you violate Title 9?

An experienced attorney will be able to weigh and assess the Title 9 violation evidence presented against you. The university has many options to deal with a Title 9 violation. All the way from ordering treatment of the violating individual, to expulsion of the violating individual.  

If you’re facing possible Title 9 accusations or you’re an individual who feels your university has not adequately addressed an incident involving sexual harassment, dating violence, or other sexual misconduct, call us today so we can assess the severity of your case and advise you on your next steps.

How much does a criminal lawyer cost in Arkansas?

Of all the questions lawyers are asked, the only question we get every time is “how much does a lawyer cost?” Traditionally, lawyers do not have flat-rate, across the board pricing, and many things will dictate the final price of a case.  While this is fine for the lawyer, this is less than desirable for the client, especially clients who are on a tight budget. By providing a “menu” of representation to choose from, the client is able to calculate the final cost up front. This way, the client can decide if they can afford the service without ever having to go through a lengthy consultation and they can easily figure out how the case will impact their budget. While certain factual situations can certainly change the price of a case, in the vast majority of cases the following prices will apply:

What does an attorney cost for misdemeanor?

Misdemeanors are broken into several levels: A, B, C and Unclassified. “A” misdemeanors are usually things like Battery, Theft of Property, or Criminal Mischief. “B” misdemeanors are crimes such as Assault, Prostitution, and others. “C” misdemeanors are crimes such as Public Intoxication and Disorderly Conduct. The most common Unclassified misdemeanor is DWI or BWI.

What does an attorney cost for a felony?

Felonys, like misdemeanors, are broken into levels. The levels denote how serious or how high the risk of prison time for the defendant is.  

Misdemeanors A, B, C
$1,500
Felony Y A B C D
Consult Needed Consult Needed $5,000 $3,500 $2,500

 

What does an attorney cost for a DWI?

For DWI cases, we offer an option where our firm will review your arrest file and provide an assessment of your case for $750.00. If after the assessment, you decide to take your case to trial, an additional fee will be agreed upon at that time.

What does an attorney cost for a Prison Rights issue?

Many individuals are currently incarcerated in either county jail or the Arkansas Department of Corrections.  These individuals have rights which must be protected, just as individuals living outside of these facilities.  We have the experience and resources to help ensure incarcerated individuals rights are protected.

Some of the services we can offer inmates are:

Initial Evidence Preservation and Assessment $500
Inmate Counseling (by phone) $150/(In person consultation rates are higher)
Probation Revocation Hearing $1,500
Terminating Probation Early $1,500

In addition to the listed services, we offer many others, and even offer customizable services and payment plans.  If you or someone you know needs representation of any kind, please contact us so we can start helping you today.

A DRE is a Drug Recognition Evaluation trained law enforcement officer. This officer has been through specific training to detect signs of intoxication for DWI Drug offenses. The DRE officer follows a DRE manual which defines a drug as follows: “any substance, which, when taken into the human body, can impair the ability of the person to operate a vehicle safely.” As you can see, the definition of “drug” the police use can be extremely broad.

The drug recognition evaluation process has three parts. First, the officer must verify the person is impaired and that the blood alcohol level of the suspect is not consistent with the level of impairment which is observed by the officer.  This just means the amount of booze the person has had that night can’t be the only thing they’re on, based on how they’re acting. Second, the officer must make a determination if the impairment is due to a “drug” or due to some type of medical condition. Finally, the officer is supposed to use the diagnostic procedures to identify the type of drug which is causing the impairment.

Drugs are usually categorized into groups. These groups contain a wide variety of drugs such as: Marijuana, PCP, Oxycontin, Hydrocodone, Morphine, Heroin, Mushrooms, Xanax, Ambien, Clonazepam, Duster, and many others.

The officer will normally run through a twelve-step protocol to determine if the person is impaired by some drug. Here are the steps the officer is generally supposed to go through:

  • Perform a check of the person’s blood alcohol level to determine if they are over .08.
  • Interview the officer who made the initial arrest to see if the person admitted to any drug use or if drugs were found in their possession.
  • Interview the arrested person to see what medications they are currently taking and other relevant medical information.
  • Conduct the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test.
  • Conduct the walk and turn test, one leg stand, or a few other drug specific tests.
  • Conduct a vital signs check of the arrested individual.
  • Conduct a dark room pupil size test of the arrested individual.
  • Conduct a check of the arrested individuals muscle tone.
  • Conduct a check for injections sites.
  • Ask the arrested individual what medications they have taken.
  • The DRE officer will then form an opinion based on the information they have collected as to the type of drug, if any, that the person is impaired by.
  • Conduct a urine or blood test of the arrested individual.

As you can see, there are many steps which must be properly executed by a DRE officer to ensure a proper conclusion about whether someone is impaired by some drug. And like all other aspects of an Arkansas DWI case, this area has many points which can be attacked by a good defense attorney. An experienced Arkansas DWI lawyer will know how to attack each point and how to use the information gathered by the officer to defend your case.  

The “one leg stand” is the third and final Standardized Field Sobriety Test a police officer will use on a person they have stopped for suspicion of driving while intoxicated in Arkansas.

The one leg stand is broken into two parts. First is the Instruction stage. Second is the Balance and counting stage.  In the Instruction stage the person is required to stand with their feet together and their arms placed by their side and listen to the officer explain and demonstrate the test.  During the second stage, the person must raise the foot of their choice approximately six inches off the ground with their hands by their side while looking down at the elevated foot. The person must then count to thirty out loud.

During the test, the officer is looking for four different clues that the person may be intoxicated. The officer checks to see if the person puts their foot down during the test, whether the person uses their arms for balance, whether the person is swaying, and whether the person hops to maintain their balance.

The one leg stand is one of the NHTSA validated field sobriety tests. Initial research of the one leg stand showed it to be around 65% accurate in determining when a person’s blood alcohol content was at or above 0.10.

The instructions for the one leg stand say that it must be performed on a hard, level, non-slippery surface. If the roadside where the test is being performed is not hard, level, or non-slippery, the test isn’t supposed to be done, and only the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test should be given.

These are the instructions for the test, but that’s rarely what happens in the real world. This is good for Arkansas Defense Attorneys who can use the instructions to invalidate the test results when the test is not performed as designed.  That means that if the test was done on a roadside that was unlevel, soft, or slippery, we can likely get the results of the test thrown out.

Although the test is considered a NHTSA validated test, there are some people who the police aren’t supposed to give the test to. The test is not designed for individuals over the age of sixty-five.  The test is not designed for people with any type of inner ear issues. The test is not designed for people who have leg or back problems. The test was not designed for people who are more than 50 pounds overweight.

All in all, the test has many flaws and many ways we can attack it at trial.

Also, with some of the specific instructions regarding when and how the test should be administered, the actual administration or non-administration of the test can be evidence of whether or not it was actually appropriate for the officer to have conducted other standardized field sobriety tests.  This means that if the test shouldn’t have been given, we may be able to say other tests shouldn’t have been given.

One of the most important tools in assessing whether or not the test was administered correctly is the police body or dash cameras.  Without the test being preserved on video, in many cases, it is very hard to initially determine if the test was performed correctly or not.  A skilled Arkansas DWI Attorney will be able to review all the evidence and pick out the issues that may be present in the field sobriety tests.  However, it is very important to get an attorney quickly after an Arkansas DWI arrest.  Police departments are only required to preserve videos for certain time periods absent specific orders to do otherwise.

We know facing a DWI can be scary.  Make sure you and your rights are protected.  Call us today, so we can start working on your case and take the proper steps to preserve any defenses you may have.

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