The Difference Between Federal and Arkansas State Crimes | CourtRecords.org
Arkansas Court Records

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What Are the Differences Between Federal and State Crimes?

The primary difference between U.S federal and state crimes is how they are prosecuted. While federal crimes are prosecuted under the federal criminal code state crimes are offenses as prescribed by state laws. In Arkansas State, crimes are prosecuted under title 5 of the state laws. Federal law agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Immigration, and Customs Enforcement, and Drug Enforcement Administration investigate federal crimes. U.S federal crimes include:

  • Espionage
  • Counterfeiting of money
  • Terrorism
  • Human trafficking
  • Illegal arms dealing
  • Corruption
  • Internet fraud
  • Illegal immigration

The state’s law enforcement agency alongside the local law agencies investigates state crimes. State crimes are usually tried in a state criminal court. In Arkansas, the Department of Public Safety investigates crimes that happen within the state’s jurisdiction. Examples of state crimes include:

  • Robbery
  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Domestic violence
  • Sexual harassment
  • Arson
  • Kidnapping
  • Vehicle Theft

Following the Dual Sovereignty Doctrine, both the federal and state law enforcement agencies can investigate crimes that violate federal and state criminal laws. Offenders that commit such crimes can have trials in both a state court and a federal court.

How Does Arkansas State Court System Differ from the Federal Court System?

The Arkansas State court system consists of four types of courts:

  • Supreme Court
  • Court of Appeals
  • Circuit Courts
  • District Courts

The district courts have limited jurisdiction and consist of the state district courts and local district courts. Cases handled at the district courts include traffic violations, misdemeanor offenses, preliminary felony cases, and selected civil cases. The Arkansas circuit courts handle criminal, probate, civil, domestic relations, and juvenile cases. Circuit court judges are elected for a six-year term. The Court of Appeals hears appeal cases from the circuit court and the district court. The state’s Supreme Court is the highest in the Arkansas judicial system and it decides the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals. A chief judge heads the Supreme Court and the Arkansas General Assembly elects the Supreme Court judges for a term of eight years.

The U.S Senate confirms the appointment of federal judges, on the president’s nomination. Unlike Arkansas state judges who are elected for a few years, the appointment of federal judges is for life. The rules that govern the procedures of case proceedings in a federal court and Arkansas state courts are also different.

How Many Federal Courts are There in Arkansas?

There are two federal courts in Arkansas State:

  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas hears federal cases in its courthouses located in Little Rock, Helena, and Jonesboro:

500 West Capitol Avenue

Little Rock, AR 72201

617 Walnut

Helena, AR 72342

615 South Main Street

Room 312

Jonesboro, AR 72401

The United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas has offices in El Dorado, Fayetteville, Hot Springs, Texarkana, and its headquarters in Fort Smith. The offices are located at:

United States Courthouse

101 South Jackson Avenue

Room 205

El Dorado, Arkansas

71730–6133

(870) 862–1202

John Paul Hammerschmidt Federal Building

35 East Mountain Street

Room 510

Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701–5354

(479) 521–6980

Judge Isaac C. Parker Federal Building

30 South 6th Street

Room 1038

Fort Smith, Arkansas

72901–2437

(479) 783–6833

J. Smith Henley Federal Building

402 North Walnut Street

Harrison, Arkansas

72601–3630

United States Courthouse

100 Reserve Street

Room 347

Hot Springs, Arkansas

71901–4143

(479) 783–6833

United States Courthouse and Post Office

500 North State Line Avenue, Room 302

Texarkana, Arkansas

71854–5961

870–773–3381

Are Federal Cases Public Records?

The Freedom of Information Act guarantees that members of the public may inspect and copy records maintained by federal agencies including federal case information. Interested persons may obtain records of federal cases through the procedures laid down by the records’ custodian. Persons looking to inspect/copy records should note that some records are not available to the general public. Confidential records are only accessible to eligible persons, as prescribed by the court.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How to Find Federal Courts Records Online

The general public can find desired Arkansas federal court records online on the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) website. PACER gives public electronic access to U.S federal court documents. Persons interested in using the PACER system will have to create an account on the website. To access Arkansas federal court records, users can search by the location of the Arkansas federal court. Some information on federal court cases that may be obtained on PACER includes docket sheets, details of all the parties involved, court transcripts, judgments, and a claims registry. The PACER site requires users to pay $0.03 per page of a federal court record copy and $3 for a document.

How to Find Federal Court Records in Arkansas?

Typically, interested individuals may obtain Arkansas federal court records at the court the case was filed. The clerk of court maintains and disseminates federal court records. To obtain federal court records, interested individuals may request desired records from the clerk’s office in-person or via U.S mail.

Federal court records for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas can be gotten by visiting the clerk’s office or sending a written request via mail to the addresses:

US District Court

Eastern District of Arkansas

600 W Capitol Ave, Rm A149

Little Rock, AR 72201

US District Court

Eastern District of Arkansas

615 South Main St., Rm 312

Jonesboro, AR 72401

Charges may apply following the court’s fee schedule.

Federal court records for the Western District of Arkansas can be gotten at the clerk of court’s office locations. Interested individuals can visit the office location on weekdays, within the hours of 9:00 a.m.—3:30 p.m., and request desired federal court records in-person. Alternatively, Requestors may send a written request conveying the required information to the clerk’s office. Requestors may send requests to:

United States Courthouse

101 South Jackson Avenue

Room 205

El Dorado, Arkansas

71730–6133

John Paul Hammerschmidt Federal Building

35 East Mountain Street

Room 510

Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701–5354

Judge Isaac C. Parker Federal Building

30 South 6th Street

Room 1038

Fort Smith, Arkansas

72901–2437

Judge Isaac C. Parker Federal Building

30 South 6th Street

Room 1038

Fort Smith, Arkansas

72901–2437I

Charges for copying and certifying records may apply following the court’s fee schedule.

Can Federal Crimes Be Dismissed in Arkansas?

Although the dismissal of federal crimes may occur, it is uncommon. If a federal crime is dismissed in an Arkansas federal court, the criminal charges against the defendant are dropped and there is a termination of the ongoing trial. In a scenario where there is a violation of the Speedy Trial Act, the federal court judge may dismiss the federal crimes against the defendant.

How Do I Clear My Federal Criminal Record?

Persons looking to clear federal criminal records may file a motion to seal/expunge records at the court the case was heard. Information on federal cases is inaccessible to the public when sealed/expunged. When a motion to clear federal criminal records has been filled, a court hearing ensues and the judge reviews the petition. The judge gives a verdict in accordance with the provision of the law. However, federal criminal records of minors who violate the Controlled Substance Act are automatically expunged.

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