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. In Arkansas, the most serious crimes (capital murder and treason) are punishable by death or life imprisonment. (Ark. Code §§ 5-4-104, 5-4-401 (2019).)
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.
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 ten to 40 years or life. Statutory rape is an example of a class Y felony. (Ark. Code §§ 5-4-201, 5-4-401 (2019).)
Class A felonies in Arkansas are punishable by six to 30 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $15,000. Possession of between ten and 200 grams of cocaine with the intent to deliver is an example of a Class A felony. (Ark. Code §§ 5-4-201, 5-4-401 (2019).)
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. Intentionally using a deadly weapon to cause serious injury to a family member (domestic battering in the first degree) is a Class B felony. (Ark. Code §§ 5-4-201, 5-4-401 (2019).)
A Class C felony is punishable by three to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Theft of property worth $5,000 to $25,000 is a Class C felony. (Ark. Code §§ 5-4-201, 5-4-401 (2019).)
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. Aggravated assault is an example of a Class D felony. (Ark. Code §§ 5-4-201, 5-4-401 (2019).)
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, while most Class Y and Class A felonies have limitation periods of six years. Class B, C, or D felonies and unclassified felonies typically have three-year statutes of limitations. (Ark. Code § 5-1-109 (2019).)
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 experienced Arkansas criminal defense attorney. A good 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 a qualified criminal defense attorney.