Arkansas Domestic Violence Laws 2024 Explained

Kevin M. Lemley

There are many types of crime that are classified as Arkansas domestic violence laws. Depending on the type of crime you are charged with, you could face a misdemeanor or felony charge. Non-violent crimes generally come with lower penalties than felony assault or battery charges.

By working with an experienced criminal defense attorney, you may be able to reduce the penalties tied to your charges. In some cases, your lawyer may be able to have the charges dropped entirely.

Penalties for Domestic Violence Misdemeanors and Felonies

Arkansas’ criminal laws classify acts of domestic violence as misdemeanors or felonies. Some offenses may be classified as either, depending on whether there were aggravating circumstances involved. Misdemeanors fall into three categories.

  • Class A misdemeanor: One year in jail and/or up to $1,000 fine.
  • Class B misdemeanor: Ninety days in jail and/or up to $1,000 fine.
  • Class C misdemeanor: Thirty days in jail and/or up to a $500 fine.

Third-degree domestic battery (also commonly referred to as battering) is a Class A misdemeanor in Arkansas. Someone commits this offense if they:

  • Intentionally cause physical injury to a family or household member.
  • Recklessly cause physical injury to a family or household member.
  • Negligently cause physical injury to a family or household member using a deadly weapon.
  • Deliberately cause stupor, unconsciousness, or physical/mental impairment to a family or household member by administering a drug or substance without their consent.

Domestic battery can become a Class D felony if the defendant harms a woman whom the defendant knew was pregnant. Prior convictions for certain crimes can also be aggravating circumstances that make this crime a Class D felony.

There are five categories of felony in Arkansas. The lowest-level felony offense is the Class D felony, which comes with a potential prison sentence of zero to six years in prison. A Class A felony carries a potential prison sentence of six to 30 years in prison. The highest-level offense is a Class Y felony that carries a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.

Laura’s Law

Laura’s Law requires Arkansas police to ask domestic violence victims specific questions to assess their risk of being killed and provide them with Laura’s Card, which details their rights and provides contact information for local support services.

The card provides information for service providers that include:

  • Arkansas Crime Information Center: Victims’ Bill of Rights and Crime Victims’ Guide.
  • Legal aid info and printable protective orders.
  • Vine Link notification system.
  • Arkansas Crime Victim’s Reparation Program.
  • Government agencies are needed to provide details about victims’ rights and resources.
  • Local victims’ services for medical, housing, counseling, financial, social, legal, and emergency services.

Law enforcement must inform victims in writing about available services and how to obtain protection orders, access public records, and contact the Arkansas Crime Victims Reparations Board. The law is named after domestic violence victims Laura Aceves, Laura Ponce, and Laura Webb.

What Is the Legal Process Once I’m Arrested?

Once you are arrested, it is important not to provide more than basic information to law enforcement. Anything you say can later be used against you. The first hearing is typically an arrangement where you enter a plea of guilty, no contest, or not guilty.

Depending on the terms of your bail or other court orders, you may have to meet with a bond supervision officer every month to fulfill other requirements. It is common for the defendant to have a no-contact order in place barring contact with the victim.

As the case moves forward, your attorney may investigate the circumstances of your arrest to find ways to prove that you did not commit the crime that you are charged with. Even if the elements of an offense are present, there can be mitigating circumstances that can be brought to the attention of the prosecution or, if needed, a judge or jury.

The majority of criminal cases are resolved through a process known as plea bargaining. Your criminal defense lawyer will represent you through that process and work to bargain for a favorable outcome that could include reduced penalties.


Q: What Is Laura’s Law in Arkansas?

A: Laura’s Card serves as a resource for law enforcement agencies, service providers, and victims, offering details on victims’ rights, crisis hotlines, shelter contacts, and law enforcement information. The Office of the Attorney General has distributed these cards to all 75 county sheriff’s offices and numerous law enforcement agencies across the state.

Q: What Is the Arkansas Law Act 873?

A: The Arkansas Law Act 873 and Arkansas Victim Rights provide several protections and provisions for victims of domestic violence. Victims have the right to be present at court proceedings or to have a representative appear on their behalf. Employers cannot discipline or fire someone for participating in court proceedings at the request of the prosecution. Upon conviction, the victim has the right to know where the defendant is confined.

Q: Is Domestic Battery Second-Degree a Felony in Arkansas?

A: Yes, domestic battery in the second degree is classified as a Class C felony in Arkansas. The offense can escalate to a Class B felony when committed against a pregnant woman. Domestic battery, in the second degree, involves recklessly causing serious physical injury to a family or household member or knowingly harming a household member who is 12 years of age or younger or 60 years of age or older.

Q: What Does Act 570 Mean in Arkansas?

A: The Public Safety Improvement Act was enacted to curb the unchecked growth of Arkansas’s prison population. One key reform requires the Director of the Department of Community Correction (with the Board of Corrections’ advice) to create a system for guiding probation and parole officers in responding to supervision violations. These reforms could save Arkansas about $875 million over the next decade.

Schedule Your Domestic Violence Consultation Today

Being charged with a crime does not make you guilty. Domestic violence charges can be the result of false allegations. In some cases, an attorney can show that their client was simply defending themselves.

The attorneys at Lemley Law Partners go to great lengths to protect the rights of clients. We have helped many clients achieve favorable outcomes to their domestic violence criminal charges. Contact our office to schedule a consultation to learn how we can help you.