Best Arkansas Criminal Lawyers

Hiring the Best Criminal Defense Attorney in Arkansas

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime in Arkansas, having an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side can make all the difference in achieving the best possible outcome. This comprehensive guide covers key considerations in finding the right attorney to handle your Arkansas criminal case.

Overview of Arkansas Criminal Law

The Arkansas criminal code contains a wide range of offenses classified as misdemeanors or felonies [1]. Some common crimes prosecuted include:

  • Assault and battery
  • Domestic violence
  • Drug possession and trafficking
  • DUI and drunk driving
  • Fraud and financial crimes
  • Homicide and manslaughter
  • Sex offenses and sex crimes
  • Theft and robbery
  • Weapons charges

Criminal cases in Arkansas begin with an arrest, followed by formal charges being filed by the prosecution. Defendants have important constitutional rights throughout the process, including the right to legal counsel.

An experienced Arkansas criminal lawyer can advise on rights and defense strategies after reviewing the charges and evidence involved in the case. Having skilled legal representation is key to navigating the criminal justice system and working to achieve the most favorable outcome.

Benefits of Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney

The advantages of retaining a criminal defense lawyer include:

  • Expertise handling criminal cases – Knowledge of Arkansas criminal code, case law, criminal procedures, law enforcement methods and defense strategies.
  • Guidance on legal rights – Advise you on your rights and options throughout the investigative and trial process. Ensure rights aren’t violated.
  • Defense strategy expertise – Develop an effective defense by examining the prosecution’s case for weaknesses, gather exculpatory evidence and ready witnesses.
  • Negotiation skills – Deal with prosecutors to get charges reduced or dismissed through plea bargaining negotiations.
  • Courtroom skills – Strong trial advocacy and litigation skills if a case goes before a judge or jury. Skillful cross-examination of prosecution witnesses.
  • Sentencing advocacy – Argue for minimizing sentences and penalties if convicted. Present mitigating factors to judges.
  • Objective counsel – Legal and strategic advice not clouded by the emotions of facing criminal prosecution.

Having an experienced lawyer levels the playing field against the powerful resources of the state prosecutor’s office. Their expertise can prove invaluable in reaching the best resolution.

Choosing the Right Criminal Defense Lawyer

Not all criminal lawyers possess the same skills and track record. It’s important to thoroughly research qualifications when selecting legal counsel. Factors to consider include:

Specialized Experience

  • Years of specific experience handling criminal cases
  • Familiarity with your exact charges
  • Cases similar to yours successfully defended

Legal Background

  • Criminal law expertise, education, training
  • Strong litigation skills
  • Credentials like board certification

Courtroom Track Record

  • Success getting charges dismissed pre-trial
  • Favorable plea bargain negotiation results
  • Strong trial win rate if cases go before a jury


  • Size of law firm and backing of a legal team
  • Financial resources to invest in the best defense
  • Ability to hire investigators and expert witnesses

Client Reviews

  • Previous client testimonials and reviews
  • Lawyer ratings on legal directories
  • Overall reputation in the legal community

Checking qualifications ensures you get the right criminal defense attorney with the skills and record you need.

Finding the Best Criminal Lawyer in Arkansas

Here are some options for locating top-rated Arkansas criminal defense lawyers:

  • State bar association directory – Arkansas Bar Association directory lets you search by practice area and location.
  • Legal directories – Respected legal sites like Avvo and list lawyer profiles, ratings and reviews.
  • Individual law firm websites – Many criminal defense firms have detailed attorney biographies and case results online.
  • Referrals – Ask business associates, friends or family for referrals to criminal lawyers.
  • Courtroom observations – Watch lawyers argue cases in court to assess skills firsthand.
  • Initial consultations – Schedule low-cost or free consults with lawyers before deciding who to hire.

Thoroughly researching multiple attorneys’ qualifications will aid in determining the best legal representative.

10 Steps to Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Follow these key steps when retaining a criminal defense attorney in Arkansas:

1. Act Quickly

Contact lawyers immediately after arrest or charging to protect your rights. Evidence can disappear and witnesses’ memories fade over time.

2. Research Lawyer Candidates

Use resources above to create a list of top criminal lawyers to interview.

3. Review Lawyer Profiles

Check credentials, case results, peer ratings, client reviews. Look for relevant experience.

4. Schedule Consultations

Meet in person and discuss your case specifics and attorney qualifications.

5. Ask Key Questions

Probe experience, case strategies, fees, if they conduct trials. Determine if a strong rapport exists.

6. Compare Options

Weigh factors like experience, track record, communication style, fees.

7. Make a Final Decision

Choose the lawyer that best fits your case needs and personality.

8. Sign an Engagement Letter

Formalize the attorney-client relationship in writing.

9. Provide Case Details

Inform lawyer on all facts and provide supporting documents. Hold nothing back.

10. Stay Organized

Keep copies of all case information provided to your attorney.

Following these steps will help ensure you have the strongest defense lawyer fighting for you.

Attorney Fees and Costs

The cost to hire a criminal defense lawyer can vary substantially based on experience level, case complexity and other factors. However, typical fee structures include:

  • Hourly – Rate of $100-$500+ per hour. Billed periodically for time expended.
  • Flat fee – Fixed, upfront cost for full case representation. Common for misdemeanors or small felonies.
  • Hybrid – Flat fee upfront, then hourly billing if case is more complex than anticipated.
  • Payment plans – Makes costs more affordable through increments. Lawyer still expects full payment.
  • Retainers – Initial lump sum deposit to begin work, supplemented by additional fees.

Be sure to understand precise fee expectations before signing a representation agreement.


Facing criminal prosecution can be an extremely stressful and frightening prospect. Having an experienced Arkansas criminal defense lawyer advising you and fighting the charges can help produce the most positive outcome possible. Do thorough research and take time to make the right attorney hire for your needs. With an excellent lawyer on your side, you can face the criminal justice process with greater confidence.


[1] Arkansas Code of 1987 Annotated. Title 5. Criminal Offenses.