Definition of Domestic Abuse
Domestic abuse is defined under Arkansas law as physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault between family or household members; or any sexual conduct between family or household members, whether minors or adults which constitutes a crime under the laws of the State of Arkansas. Prior to 1991, persons who were victims of a misdemeanor domestic abuse incident were required to have charges filed through the City Attorney's Office before a prosecution could be initiated. However, in 1991, the Arkansas General Assembly passed the Arkansas Domestic Abuse Act. Under the Act, if a police officer has probable cause to believe that a misdemeanor crime of domestic abuse has been committed, an arrest can be made within twelve hours for misdemeanor domestic abuse involving physical injury and within four hours if there is no injury.
Misdemeanor Violence Among Intimates
Most of the domestic abuse incidents in Springdale involve misdemeanor violence among intimates. The most common crimes charged in domestic abuse incidents in Springdale are domestic battering (3rd) and domestic assault. In such cases, the Springdale City Attorney's Office, recognizing the nature of the cycle of violence, will not allow victims to simply drop charges. In most cases, prosecution is continued even against the wishes of the victim because the City Attorney's Office recognizes domestic abuse is a crime against the State, and there are often times other victims in the family or household.
Intense Domestic Abuse Intervention Program
Upon a plea of guilty to a misdemeanor domestic abuse incident, the Springdale City Attorney's Office will usually recommend as part of the sentence, completion of an intense domestic abuse intervention program. If the defendant fails to complete the program, a jail sentence will usually be imposed. The goal of the Springdale City Attorney's Office regarding domestic abuse prosecution strategy is to deter any future violence by the offender against the victim, or any other past, present, or future family or household members.
Who to Contact if You Are Currently a Victim
If you are currently a victim in a Springdale domestic abuse case, and desire further information, contact Ernest Cate, City Attorney, or Lynda Belvedresi, Victim Advocate of the Springdale City Attorney's Office, at 479-750-8173. Lynda can also assist you if you just have general questions about domestic abuse.