BODY ATTACHMENTS - What does this mean?
Body Attachments are court orders usually issued in child support enforcement actions. They are very similar to warrants of arrest that are issued in criminal cases. A Body Attachment orders and directs law enforcement officers to seize the body of the person named in the order and hold that person in custody pending further orders of the court. Most Body Attachments (but not all) will have language indicating that the person can be released from custody if a prescribed cash amount is paid to secure his release. This amount may or may not equal the total of delinquent child support payments. Other Body Attachments will require the person to remain in custody until brought before the Judge who issued the order. Body Attachments can be served in any part of the State, just as arrest warrants can. Any monies that the Sheriff's Office collects from Body Attachment actions will be held and distributed as later directed by the court or as prescribed under the law.
BOND - What is bond and how is bond posted?
The terms “Bond” and “Bail” are often used interchangeably, although there are technical differences.
The purpose of requiring the posting of a bond is to ensure that an arrested person will appear in court to answer his or her charges after release from custody.
Generally speaking, judges determine the amount of bond, while the sheriff determines the sufficiency of the bond, Arkansas Code 16-84-105 and 16-84-110.
Arkansas Code 16-81-109. Bail: “When any sheriff or other law enforcement officer makes an arrest, he or she is authorized to take and to approve bail in the manner provided by law wherever he or she makes the arrest.”
Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 8 and Rule 9: These rules govern first appearances in court and the setting of bond/bail if the arrested person is still in custody.
Type of Arrest: If a person is arrested with a warrant, the warrant will generally have the bond amount listed. If a person is arrested without a warrant, bond may be set in the manner prescribed above.
Type of Bond: There are several forms of bond that are authorized by law.
- CASH: An arrested person, or someone acting on his behalf, may post the entire bond amount in cash, which will be held by the sheriff or the court pending disposition of the criminal case.
- SURETY: An arrested person may secure his release through the utilization of a professional licensed bail bonding company. This is known as a “surety bond”. The bonding company will charge the arrested person certain “fees” for the service of posting a surety bond to secure the release from custody. Those fees are non-refundable and are not applied to any fines, costs, or restitution that may later be ordered by the court. Note: A law enforcement officer is prohibited from recommending the services or any particular bonding company or bondsman.
- SHERIFF’s BOND: The sheriff is authorized to accept collateral as bond to secure the release of the arrested person from custody. Note: The Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office does NOT authorize or accept so-called “Sheriff’s Bonds”.
- OWN RECOGNIZANCE: A court will sometimes authorize a person in custody to be released on his “own recognizance”, which is nothing more than a promise to re-appear at a later date for further judicial proceedings. These are rarely authorized for other than very minor offenses.
- RULE 5.2 PRE-TRIAL RELEASE: The ranking person on duty at the jail or detention center may authorize the release of a person from custody by utilizing a citation to appear as authorized by Rule 5.2 of the Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure. With respect to misdemeanor offenses, this authorization falls exclusively within the discretion of the Office of Sheriff. With respect to felony offenses, a recommendation from the Prosecuting Attorney is needed in order for a Rule 5.2 release to occur. Note: Rule 5.2 releases are rarely authorized by the Sheriff’s Office, generally only in cases of severe overcrowding or emergency situations. This release option is available only prior to an appearance before a judge, after which the sheriff’s office must follow the orders of the court.
Standard conditions of pre-trial release or “conditions of bond” may apply in all instances, and failure to abide by those terms and conditions may result in the bond being revoked and the person being returned to custody.
CHILD SAFETY SEAT - At what age does my child have to be in a child safety or booster seat?
Arkansas Law requires that a child under six (6) years of age or sixty (60) pounds, be restrained in a child passenger seat properly secured to the vehicle. Any child over six (6) and under fifteen (15) years of age must be secured in a seatbelt.
CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS - How do I obtain one?
Criminal Background Checks - General: The Sheriff's Office may provide certain information to the public that is available for public disclosure under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. This would include information from the Sheriff's Office Records Management System on Incident/Offense Reports, Accident Reports, Jail Booking Records, Warrant Records, Civil Process Records, Citations, and Dispatch Logs/Complaint Cards. Exceptions would be for records relating to active/ongoing investigations, certain personnel records, records that have been sealed/expunged by court order, and records involving juvenile offenders or juvenile suspects. There are nominal fees associated with processing these requests. The Sheriff's Office is prohibited by law from providing criminal history or background information of any kind from the Arkansas Crime Information Center database or the National Crime Information Center database. In addition, we cannot provide information relating to records maintained by any other law enforcement agency. You would need to contact those agencies directly for information from their records. The Arkansas State Police Identification Bureau in Little Rock can provide a more thorough criminal history check that encompasses all jurisdictions in Arkansas. Information on their procedures can be found on the Arkansas State Police web site at www.asp.state.ar.us Background Checks for HUD Housing Applicants: If someone needs a background check conducted for HUD Housing, the paperwork should be taken to the Sheriff's Administration Offices during normal business hours and dropped off. The completed forms can usually be picked up after 10:00 AM on the next business day.
DELIVERING MESSAGES - Can a deputy deliver a private message to another person?
Only in truly URGENT OR EMERGENCY CIRCUMSTANCES will a deputy be permitted to hand deliver a personal message from one party to another. This determination will be made by the on-duty patrol division supervisor.
We cannot deliver routine, non-emergency messages due to phone service being out or other similar circumstances.
FINGERPRINTS - How can I be fingerprinted for work/job purposes?
Fingerprints: The Sheriff's Office can take fingerprints for background purposes and as part of the process of obtaining a concealed carry license. These are normally done as part of an employment or pre-employment process for a government office or agency, such as a school, or for employers such as nursing homes. Fingerprints are taken at the jail, and are subject to time constraints and availability of personnel.
EMPLOYMENT - Can I apply online? How long are the applications kept on file?
The Sheriff's Office accepts applications for employment throughout the year. Applications will normally remain on file and active for twelve (12) months from the date they were submitted. Employment Applications are available online. However, submission of those applications to the business office is not currently available online by electronic means. They must be delivered to the administration offices or mailed.
EVICTION - How do I evict someone or have them evicted?
NOTICE REGARDING EVICTION PROCEEDINGS
Our office has had multiple inquiries about Arkansas Code Ann. S 18-16-101 regarding the Failure to Vacate Statute and the recent ruling in Pulaski County Circuit Court declaring said statute unconstitutional.
On January 20, 2015, in Pulaski County Circuit Court, Judge Herbert T. Wright issued an opinion in State Aft0fia Smith, CR 2014-2707, wherein he found that the entire statutory scheme of A.C.A. S 18-16-101 was unconstitutional on multiple grounds.
In an attempt to rectify these issues, the Arkansas Legislature revised the statute to remove any unconstitutional deformities.(1) They attempted to draft a statute that was in direct conformity with Munson v. Gilliam(2) and Duhon v. State. In short, the legislature attempted to simply delete the sections that Judge Wright deemed unconstitutional; however, I believe that the statute would not pass constitutional muster even as newly drafted.
In brief explanation, I believe that the statute would still fail, and I cannot recommend enforcement of the statute for three major reasons. First, Arkansas has a civil cause of action for landlords faced with nonpaying tenants or tenants who wrongfully refuse to leave the premises. The landlord may bring a civil suit to obtain a writ of possession under the unlawful detainer statute, A.C.A. S 18-60-304, et seq. Upon proper notice and after a hearing, the landlord may be granted. a writ of possession, and the sheriff is ultimately empowered to remove the defendant and his property from the premises. Even if a court of competent jurisdiction found a defendant guilty under the criminal provision the court has no authority under that statute to remove the defendant from the property. The landlord would still be required to file the civil remedy to physically remove the defendant from the property. Therefore, any interest the State of Arkansas would have in protecting landlords and their property would be adequately achieved through the civil remedy, especially where the civil remedy would remain necessary to remove the tenant even after he/she was found guilty under the criminal statute.
Second, I believe that the statute as written continues to violate Article Il, Section 16, of the Arkansas Constitution, which "prohibits imprisonment for debt in any civil actions, on mesne or final process, unless in the cases of fraud." The statute purports to only criminalize the trespass of the tenant who holds over after the require notice period has elapsed, but it is plain to see that this is an attempt by a criminal court to criminalize a party who has failed to answer for a private civil debt, known more commonly as a lease agreement. This specific type of statutory debt enforcement, absent a finding of fraud, is impermissible under Article Il, Section 1 6, of the Arkansas Constitution.
Third, and in agreement with Judge Wright, I believe that no other jurisdiction, other than Arkansas, criminalizes a tenant's failure to pay rent or vacate. The fact that Arkansas remains alone here gives me great reservations about our ability and our duty in enforcing what appears to be such an unusual punishment potentially in violation of the Eight Amendment to the United State Constitution.
The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney of the Sixteenth Judicial District will not approve criminal affidavit requests for arrest warrants for violations of ACA 18-16-101 Failure to Pay Rent-Refusal to Vacate Upon Notice-Penalty, AKA "Failure to Vacate". Also, this office will not provide ten (10) day Notices to Vacate ACA S 18-16-101, as amended by the Arkansas Legislature. It is the position of this office that such matters are civil breaches of contract, with full legal redress available in civil court through Unlawful Detainer proceedings.
Arkansas is the only state in the country that attempts to criminalize the eviction process. In 2012 a bi-partisan, non-legislative commission, charged by the Arkansas Legislature, examined ACA S 18-16-101, and recommended its full repeal. It is this office's opinion the statute is a use of criminal law to enforce a civil contract, which presents due process Issues.
The Arkansas Constitution, under Article 2. S 16, states that "No person shall be Imprisoned for debt... unless in cases of fraud. ACA S 18-16-101, as amended by Act 159, criminalizes a tenant's failure to pay a private debt pursuant to a rental or lease contract. There is no requirement under this statute that an element of fraud or other evidence of criminal intent must exist. A failure to vacate, while certainly problematic for landlords, does not amount to fraud.
Act 159 went into effect in August of 2017. The Act adds a new and separate criminal offense for each day a tenant "willfully and unnecessarily" fails to vacate the property after the expiration of the notice to vacate. What used to be a single offense may now result in multiple offenses. *There is no notice to a tenant as to how many additional charges the tenant may face. There is no notice as to additional convictions that may result from delays in the criminal process, and there are no exceptions set out in the statute regarding such delays. The ongoing fines could be seen as imposing a deterrent to a tenant maintaining his/her innocence. This could be seen as a violation of a tenant's 14th Amendment rights.
This office finds ACA S 18-16-101, as amended, to be constitutionally questionable on due process grounds. Because this office finds existing civil remedies sufficient, it will continue the policy currently in effect, and will not issue process for failure to vacate.
In conclusion, I do not believe that a tenant refusing to pay rent or vacate a premise IS a criminal matter that the Cleburne County Prosecutor's Office will recommend the filing of criminal charges against an individual. 'The Prosecutor's Office cannot, and will not, give civil advice or attorney recommendations on these matters. I suggest that anyone having a landlord tenant dispute consult a private civil attorney of their choosing to discuss civil remedies and other legal alternatives.
-The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney
(1) 2017 Acts of Arkansas, Act 159, 52. Amending subsection (b) (2) and completely deleting subsection oc.
(2) 543 F.2d 48 Cir. 1976)
(3) 299 Ark. 503, 774 S.W.2d 830 (Ark. 1989)
JAIL VISITATION - When is visitation, and how do I schedule a visit?
Visitation is on Saturday and Sunday during the hours of 9AM-4PM. Visitors must be put on the inmates’ visitation list and must show ID when they arrive to visit. Inmates are only allowed 20 minutes to visit, unless additional time is approved earlier by the Sheriff or Jail Administrator. People wishing to visit inmates with the last names beginning with the letter A-M need to contact the jail to arrange visitation on Thursday prior to the visitation on Saturday. People wishing to visit inmates with the last names beginning with the letter N-Z need to contact the jail to arrange visitation on Friday prior to the visitation on Sunday. All arrangements may be made only during the hours of 7:30 A.M. to 7:30 P.M. The Detention Center does not accept any food or clothing from the outside. Money in the form of cash or money order may be left at the front counter to be put on the inmate’s commissary account. The inmate may use the account to purchase phone cards, underwear, socks, commissary and other items off of an approved list.
NOISE COMPLAINTS - What is the law?
General Noise Complaints: Although it has been discussed in the past, Cleburne County does not have an ordinance prohibiting loud or excessive noise that would constitute a nuisance. Many municipalities have such an ordinance, but Cleburne County does not. Therefore, when we receive complaints of loud noise, loud music, or etc., we generally have very limited options open to us, other than to politely ask the person responsible to turn it down. Only in very extreme cases could a disorderly conduct type charge potentially be filed.
PERSONAL PROPERTY EXCHANGES - How can I retrieve my belongings?
Personal Property Exchanges: People frequently come to the office wanting a deputy to accompany them to a residence to retrieve or recover personal property. We will generally try to assist people at the time they call or come in, if the property exchange or retrieval can be handled in 15 minutes or less. If it will take longer than that, then the parties involved are encouraged to work through their attorneys to arrange for a deputy to come in at a pre-arranged time to handle the matter. In these situations, deputies are “hired” by the attorney and are paid by the requesting party per hour they are there. The sole purpose of the deputy will be TO KEEP THE PEACE. Any property over which ownership is in dispute will remain with the person who has it until a Judge orders otherwise, regardless of any receipts or paperwork showing who purchased the articles.
POLICE REPORTS - How do I get a copy?
Obtaining Copies of Reports and Records: Most Sheriff’s Office records are public information under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act and are available for public viewing, and for copying for a nominal fee. There are several exceptions to this, including specifically reports and paperwork relating to criminal cases remaining open and under investigation, certain personnel records, records sealed/expunged by court order, and records relating to juveniles (under 18 years of age). We have an FOI request form that we ask each person to fill out that will help us find or locate the documents they are wanting to view. We will not compile statistical or comparative data for individuals, nor will Administration Staff offer comment on reports or documents prepared and filed by individual deputies. Accident Reports: Patrol Deputies prepare traffic accident reports on accidents they have investigated on county roads. These reports are filed with clerical staff within five (5) to ten (10) days of the date of the accident. There is a nominal fee for copies of these reports. Although deputies frequently arrive at accident scenes on Arkansas State Highways and U. S. Highways to assist the State Police, the deputy will generally not investigate the accident himself. That is the responsibility of the State Police under the law. Reports from those accidents are filed with the Arkansas State Police Headquarters, and they are not available from the Sheriff’s Office.
PROPERTY BOUNDARY DISPUTES - What's the solution?
Property Boundary Disputes: Occasionally, the Sheriff’s Office is asked to intervene in property line disputes between neighbors. The Sheriff's Office has no authority to determine property line boundaries or settle such disputes. These must be settled by pursuing your remedy in a civil court action.
However, persons should take notice that it is a criminal offense to interfere with a surveyor or survey crew or to move or tamper with any survey marker that has been placed by a licensed surveyor. Doing so will subject a person to arrest and prosecution under Arkansas law.
PROTECTION ORDERS - How do I get one and when do they go into effect?
ORDERS OF PROTECTION:
- Orders issued by the Circuit Court to protect victims in Domestic Violence situations.
- To be eligible, the victim must have been in a “Domestic Type Relationship” with the offender, within the definition of the law. The definition includes married people, people related within the 4th degree of consanguinity, people who have lived together, had a child together, or have been in a dating relationship. Parents or advocates may also obtain, or assist in obtaining, Orders of Protection on behalf of others in some circumstances.
- Application/Petition forms to obtain Orders of Protection are available at the Circuit Clerk’s Office. The Clerk may assist applicants in filling out the forms.
- There are no costs associated with this order, no filing fees, no service fees.
- The completed application form is presented to a Circuit Judge for review.
- The victim/applicant may have to answer questions from the Judge before he decides whether or not to issue the order. There must be sufficient grounds to issue the order.
- If the application is approved, the Circuit Judge will issue an Ex Parte (Temporary) Order of Protection. This Order will be delivered to the Sheriff’s Office to be served on the offender. The Order has no validity and cannot be enforced until and unless the offender has been served with the Order.
- When the offender is served, the Order will specify a court hearing date and time. The offender may appear to challenge the Order at that time.
- At the time of the hearing, the Judge may make the order permanent (up to 10 years), may modify the provisions of the order, or may drop or terminate the temporary order.
- The order may award temporary custody of children or dependents to the applicant/victim, may order spousal support, may award temporary possession of a residence or personal property, and may prevent the offender from having any contact with the victim, the victim’s children, family, or etc.
- Any person who violates any provision of the Order of Protection has committed a crime, specifically a Class A Misdemeanor, the punishment for which is up to a $1,000 fine and/or up to one (1) year in jail. The Judge issuing the Order can also punish for Contempt of Court.
- Officers may make an arrest without a warrant if there is probable cause to believe the Order of Protection has been violated or broken by the offender.
- Mutual (two-way) Orders of Protection are not permitted, however the parties involved may obtain separate Order of Protection against one another if grounds exist to convince a Judge to grant them. Victims of Domestic Violence are encouraged to apply for Orders of Protection, because it is a crime to violate them. This gives law enforcement much great authority to enforce the provisions of these orders and results in a new charge being filed. The same cannot be said for violating other kinds of orders.
- These are civil court orders generally issued in divorce cases.
- There are filing fees and service fees involved, and the services of attorney are generally required to obtain a Restraining Order.
- A person who defies the provisions of a Restraining Order has not committed a criminal offense. The remedy for violating a Restraining Order is to petition the court to hold the offender/violator in Contempt of Court, the punishment for which is generally a small civil fine. Restraining Orders are generally ineffective in Domestic Violence cases because they have no real teeth to them.
NO CONTACT ORDERS:
- Any person taken into custody for a criminal offense resulting from a Domestic Violence incident will generally be issued a standing No Contact Order at the time of his or her release from custody. This order is issued as a condition of bail or condition of release.
- The order remains in effect until lifted or terminated by a Judge, but can generally be valid for no more than two (2) years.
- A person who violates a No Contact Order has not committed a crime, rather he or she has violated the conditions of bail or release and can be taken back into custody by the officer until appearing in person before a Judge. The bail is basically revoked.
SEX OFFENDERS - What are the different levels and what do they mean?
Convicted Sex Offenders are required by law to register with law enforcement. The Cleburne County Sheriff's Office is the law enforcement agency that handles the registration process of all Sex Offenders who reside in Cleburne County. There are four (4) levels of Sex Offenders under Arkansas Law. The levels represent the likelihood the Offender will re-offend.
Level 1 - Least likely to re-offend
Level 2 - Moderate risk to re-offend
Level 3 - High Risk to re-offend
Level 4 - Sexually Violent Predator
A convicted Sex Offender, who is assigned a risk level of 1, 2, or 3, is required to come in to the Sheriff's Office every 6 months to re-register. A level 4 Sex Offender is required to come in every 3 months to re-register. When a Sex Offender moves into the State of Arkansas, they are required to be evaluated before they are assigned a risk level. This process sometimes will take several months before the State assigns a risk level. Law Enforcement is not allowed to notify the public UNTIL a risk level has been assigned by the State of Arkansas.
SEX OFFENDERS - What or who determines which sex offenders go on the website?
The Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for notifying the public of where Registered Sex Offenders live. Under Arkansas Law, we are only allowed to do public notification for Level 3 and Level 4 Sex Offenders. In 2007, a law was passed allowing us to do public notification on Level 2 Sex Offenders IF the Sex Offender was 18 years of age or older and the Victim was age 14 or under when the crime was committed. In addition to posting the information on the website, we may also do door to door notification within an area surrounding the residence of the Sex Offender. Officers use flyers showing the Offender’s picture and information about their crime, and go door to door notifying the neighbors of who the Sex Offender is and where they live. It is the belief of the Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office, that an informed public is a safer public. We will continue to do everything in our power to protect our children and our community.
TOWING OF VEHICLES - When does law enforcement tow vehicles?
Non-Consensual Towing: The Sheriff's Office has authority to impound and tow vehicles under limited circumstances. These are:
* When the driver of the vehicle was lawfully stopped by law enforcement and the vehicle has been seized, with or without the driver being arrested.
* When the vehicle has been disabled in a traffic accident and the owner/operator is not at the scene or is incapacitated and unable to make or request specific arrangements for the removal of the vehicle.
* When the vehicle is illegally parked in violation of Arkansas Statutes or County Ordinances. Examples would include handicapped parking violations, blocking the roadway, parking within an intersection or crosswalk, parking too close to a fire hydrant or traffic control sign, and several other reasons.
Towing from Private Property: Private Property owners may, themselves, arrange for the towing of any motor vehicle that has been left or abandoned without permission or consent on their property. The Property Owner will be responsible for contacting a towing service to have the vehicle removed. The Sheriff's Office cannot become involved in that procedure. The Sheriff's Office cannot tow or remove a vehicle from privately owned property unless the vehicle has been seized by the Sheriff's Office as the result of a criminal violation.
Recommendation of Services: The Sheriff's Office is prohibited by law from recommending the services of any particular tow company or wrecker service.
WARRANT OF ARREST - How do I find out if I have a warrant for my arrest? What do I do if I have one?
The Sheriff's Office maintains hundreds of Warrants of Arrest issued by the District Court and Circuit Court. Any person can obtain information on arrest warrants pertaining to himself or herself by placing a phone call to the Sheriff's Office. Such information as the date of the warrant, charge(s)specified on the warrant, bond amount, and issuing court can be provided. Many arrest warrants are served by deputies working in the field, either during vehicle stops or by visiting the last known home address or work address of the person named in the warrant. Other warrants are served when people voluntarily surrender themselves to the Sheriff's Office after learning a warrant exists for their arrest. Most warrants will have a bond specified by the court that a person in custody is required to post before being released. Other warrants are "No Bond" warrants, and the person must remain in custody until appearing before a Judge for further proceedings. On those warrants that have a bond amount specified, the Sheriff's Office will accept either cash for the bond or a surety bond issued by a professional licensed bail bonding company. The Sheriff's Office generally will not accept or approve an O/R Bond (release on own recognizance) or a property bond. Any person wanting information about an arrest warrant or how to take care of an active warrant should contact the Sheriff's Office. We will make every effort to make a reasonable accommodation to allow the person satisfy the warrant within the boundaries of the law and department policy.
WELFARE CHECKS - Will the Sheriff's Office check on the personal welfare of people in their homes?
The Sheriff's Office frequently receives requests to perform what we term a "Welfare Check" on another person. These generally occur when people are unable to reach a family member or close friend in Cleburne County and are concerned about the personal health and welfare of that person. We will generally dispatch a deputy to the address provided by the caller to see if contact can be made with the person in question. If contact is made, and if deemed appropriate and necessary, the deputy will conduct a brief, cursory and informal investigation to determine the physical and/or mental health and well-being of the person, without violating his or her privacy rights. The deputy or dispatcher will then re-contact the caller to provide information on what was learned.
Another frequent request is one from a parent for a deputy to check on the "welfare" of minor children in the permanent or temporary custody of the other parent. The Sheriff's Office will generally agree to make one (1) such welfare check on the children, provided the parent making the request can provide specific reasons based on facts that the welfare of the minor children is somehow being jeopardized. Deputies will NOT be used by one parent as a tool to harass or intimidate the other parent because of a custody issue or dispute that remains unresolved by the courts.