Families and individuals affected by child sexual abuse or sexual assault deserve justice. You may be here because you're looking for answers to difficult questions like:
- How long might the person who hurt our child be in prison?
- How can we demand accountability from others who enabled abuse?
- How can an Arkansas victims' rights lawyer help our family?
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If you or a loved one has recently suffered a traumatic incident of rape, sexual assault, or child sexual abuse, you may be wondering how your state’s legal system handles these cases. We’ve summarized Arkansas’ sexual crime laws below, so you can have a better idea of what to expect from the criminal justice system.
Arkansas Criminal Laws On Child Sexual Abuse
While criminal prosecution is absolutely crucial for giving victims closure and preventing sexual offenders from hurting others, it’s often helpful to speak with your own victims’ rights lawyer who can help you fully understand your legal options.
Be aware that criminal sexual statutes change often. A lawyer can help you better understand how the current laws may influence the criminal prosecution of the person responsible for hurting you or your loved one.
The criminal court system often fails to convict sexual offenders, and even when it does convict them, little is done to assist victims. Recovering from a sexual assault takes time and may require therapy, missed time from work, and other personal difficulties. It’s important that victims get the support they need for these difficulties and that the parties responsible for allowing committing these crimes or allowing them to occur are punished. Our Arkansas sexual assault lawyers help survivors achieve both of the goals through the civil court system.
Laws For Crimes Of Child Sexual Abuse
If your child has recently been sexually abused, we understand the pain your family is going through. However, there are several Arkansas laws which are designed to help victims, punish offenders, and take these dangerous predators off the streets.
Promoting Child Sexual Performance
In Arkansas, a person can be charged with a Class B felony for producing, directing, or promoting any sexual performance by a child under 17 years old. This crime is punishable by 5-20 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
Employing Children: Sexual Performances
Arkansas law prohibits anyone from employing, authorizing, or inducing a child under 17 years old to engage in a sexual performance. It’s also illegal for a parent or legal guardian of the child to consent to participation in such a performance. The first offense for this crime is a Class C felony punishable by 3-10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Subsequent offenses are considered Class B felonies and punishable by 5-20 years in prison and up to a $15,000 fine.
Engaging Children In Sexually Explicit Conduct For Use In Visual Or Print Medium
Adults who exploit children for sexually explicit visual or print content can be charged with a Class B felony (5-20 years in prison; up to $15,000 fine) for the first offense and a Class A felony on subsequent offenses (6-30 years in prison, up to $15,000 fine).
Internet Stalking Of A Child
Anyone who uses the internet to seduce, solicit, lure, or entice a child 15 years of age or younger for any type of sexual activity can be charged with internet stalking of a child. Adults can also be charged even if the person on the other end of a computer is a law enforcement officer posing as a child. Finally, this law also punishes people who compile, transmit, publish, reproduce, buy, sell, receive, exchange, or disseminate a child’s personal information (such as name, phone number, email, address, etc.) with the intent of arranging a meeting for the purpose of sexual activity
Sexual Indecency With A Child
In Arkansas, sexual indecency with a child is a Class D felony punishable by a maximum of 6 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. A person can be charged with this crime if they’re 18 or older and solicit sexual activity from someone who is younger than 15 years old, if they expose themselves to someone under 15 years old, or if they coerce a minor to expose themselves.
Transportation Of Minors For Prohibited Sexual Conduct
If a person transports, finances transport, or otherwise facilitates the transportation of any minor and that person knows or has reason to know that the minor will be involved in prostitution or sexually explicit conduct for commercial exploitation, that person can be charged with a Class A felony punishable by 6-30 years in prison and up to a $15,000 fine.
Laws For Prosecution Of Sexual Crimes Against Adults
After becoming the victim of a sexual assault or other sexual crime, it’s normal for survivors to look into the legal ramifications their attacker could face. We’ve provided some short summaries of these laws below:
Arkansas state law defines rape as sexual intercourse which involves one of the following circumstances:
- Forcible compulsion
- The victim is incapable of consent because he or she is physically helpless, mentally disabled, or mentally incapacitated (i.e. intoxicated)
- The victim is less than 14 years old
- The victim is a minor and the actor is the victim’s guardian, uncle, aunt, grandparent, step-grandparent, grandparent by adoption, brother or sister by whole or half blood or by adoption, nephew, niece, or first cousin.
In Arkansas, rape is a Class Y felony punishable by either life in prison or 10-40 years and a possible fine and restitution to the victim. Anyone convicted of the rape of a victim 14 years old or younger will be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 25 years.
Arkansas has four degrees of severity for sexual assault charges:
A person commits first-degree sexual assault if he or she engages in sexual intercourse with a minor who is not the actor’s spouse and the actor is one of the following:
- Employed by the Department of Correction, Department of Community Correction, Department of Human Services, or any city or county jail or juvenile detention facility, and the victim is in the custody of one of these departments, facilities, or their contractors or agents;
- In a position of trust or authority over the victim and uses this trust or authority to engage in sexual activity
- A teacher, principal, coach, or counselor in a public or private school from grades K-12 who engaged in sexual activity with a student who is less than 21 years old and enrolled at the school employing the teacher, principal, coach, or counselor.
Sexual assault in the first degree is a Class A felony and punishable by 6-30 years in prison and a fine up to $15,000.
Second-degree assault charges are brought in cases in which a person does one of the following:
- Forces someone else to engage in sexual contact
- Engages in sexual contact with someone who cannot give consent because they’re physically helpless, mentally defective, or mentally incapacitated
- An actor 18 years or older engages in sexual contact with another person who is 14 years old or younger
- Engages in sexual contact with a minor and the actor is employed by one of the departments mentioned above in the first-degree section or in another position of trust or authority over the minor, such as a teacher, principal, or coach at their school
Second-degree sexual assault can be either a Class B (5-20 years, up to $15,000 fine) or Class D felony (maximum of 6 years in prison and fine up to $10,000) in Arkansas. Most cases are Class B, but if the offender is a minor and the victim is less than 14 years old, the offender will be charged with a Class D felony.
A person can be charged with third-degree sexual assault if that person:
- Is employed by one of the departments mentioned above or for any city or county jail and engages in sexual contact with someone in the custody of one of those departments or jails;
- Employed by or contracted with an agency maintaining custody of inmates, detainees, or juveniles and the victim is in the custody of one of these departments or jails;
- A mandated reporter or clergy member who uses their position of trust or authority to engage in sexual activity with the victim, or
- The actor is a minor who engages in sexual contact who is younger than 14 and at least three years younger than the actor.
Sexual assault in the third-degree is a Class C felony, which is punishable by 3-10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
A person commits sexual assault in the fourth degree if he or she is at least 20 years old and engages in sexual intercourse, activity, or contact with another person who is less than 16 years old and not the actor’s spouse. These charges also apply to cases where an offender engages in sexual contact by abusing their position of authority in the Department of Correction, Community Correction, Human Services, and various city and county jails.
Indecent exposure is a crime that involves a perpetrator exposing their sexual organs in a public place, in public view, or under circumstances where the perpetrator knows the exposure is likely to cause alarm. On the first offense, this crime is charged as a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of 1 year in prison and up to a $1,000 fine. On subsequent offenses, the charges are bumped up to a Class D felony which is punishable by a maximum of 6 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Knowingly Transmitting AIDs & HIV
In Arkansas, it’s illegal for someone who has tested positive for AIDs or HIV to knowingly expose others to the disease through sexual contact or blood transfers. People who have this virus must inform their sexual partners of their diagnosis before sexual penetration. Knowingly exposing someone else to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a Class A felony in Arkansas, punishable by 6-30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $15,000.
How Our Arkansas Sexual Assault Lawyers Help Survivors
Victims of sexual assault or abuse in Arkansas can find guidance through a support group called the Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ACASA).
If you or a loved one has recently survived an act of sexual violence or child sexual abuse, we understand the anguish, frustration, and uncertainty you may be feeling. It’s difficult to know how to respond in the aftermath of such a traumatic and heinous crime. That’s why our lawyers take pride in helping guide survivors of sexual crimes through the difficult recovery period following their attacks.
If you want to find out more about your legal options or are just looking for guidance, we can help. When you feel ready, get in touch with us to discuss your situation in a free consultation.