Felonies in Arkansas are crimes punishable by state prison terms. Arkansas’s lawmakers designate felonies as Class Y, A, B, C, or D. Some felonies are unclassified and, for these crimes, the sentence will be set forth in the criminal statute. (Ark. Code § 5-4-401.) Less serious crimes, known as misdemeanors, are punishable by terms of up to one year in county or local jail.
For more information on misdemeanors in Arkansas, see Arkansas Misdemeanor Crimes by Class and Sentences.
In Arkansas, the most serious crimes (capital murder and treason) are punishable by death or life imprisonment. (Ark. Code § 5-4-104.)
Class Y Felonies
Class Y felonies are the most serious crimes in Arkansas not punishable by death. A conviction for a Class Y felony can result in a prison term of 10 to 40 years or life. (Ark. Code §§ 5-4-401, 5-4-201.) Possession of 500 or more pounds of marijuana is an example of a class Y felony.
For more information, see Arkansas Marijuana Laws.
Class A Felonies
Class A felonies in Arkansas are punishable by six to 30 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $15,000. (Ark. Code §§ 5-4-401, 5-4-201.) Engaging in sexual intercourse after testing HIV-positive or while having HIV or AIDS is a Class A felony.
For more information on this crime, see Transmitting an STD in Arkansas.
Class B Felonies
Under Arkansas’s laws, the sentence for a Class B felony is five to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. (Ark. Code §§ 5-4-401, 5-4-201.) Intentionally using a deadly weapon to cause serious injury to a family member (domestic violence) is a Class B felony.
For more information on this and related crimes, see Arkansas Domestic Violence Laws.
Class C Felonies
A Class C felony is punishable by three to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. (Ark. Code §§ 5-4-401, 5-4-201.) Theft of property worth $5,000 to $25,000 is a Class C felony.
For more information on theft crimes and penalties, see Arkansas Petty Theft and Other Theft Laws.
Class D Felonies
Class D felonies are the least serious felonies in Arkansas, punishable by up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. (Ark. Code §§ 5-4-401, 5-4-201.) Forcing a person to engage in prostitution, and aggravated assault are both examples of a Class D felony.
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitation is a time limit by which the state must begin criminal prosecution or the defendant can have the case thrown out. The statute of limitations begins to “run” when the crime is committed. In Arkansas, more serious crimes have longer statutes of limitations. Murder has no statute of limitations.
For more information, see Arkansas Criminal Statute of Limitations.
Obtaining Legal Assistance
Felony convictions have serious consequences. In addition to time in prison, a felony conviction can result in the loss of the right to vote, own a gun, run for public office, or obtain certain professional or business licenses. If you are charged with a felony, talk to an Arkansas criminal defense attorney. An attorney can explain the legal process to you and help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case. The best way to protect your rights is to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney.