Frequently Asked Questions
BODY ATTACHMENTS-What does this mean?
Body Attachments are court orders usually issued in child support enforcement actions. They are 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 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 is held and distributed as later directed by the court or as prescribed under the law.
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 seat belt.
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 includes 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 include 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. One must 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
EVICTION-How do I evict someone or have them evicted?
Eviction Procedures: In cooperation with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, there are established specific protocols in handling eviction procedures for persons who have failed or refused to pay rent. While there may be other reasons for a landlord or property owner wanting to evict a tenant, the ONLY circumstances that the Sheriff’s Office can become involved in under the law is Eviction for Non-Payment of rent. All other types of evictions for all other reasons must be handled through an attorney in civil court. For cases of non-payment of rent, the renter/tenant must be served in person either by the landlord or by a Sheriff’s Deputy ($25.00 charge) with an Eviction Notice. This notice gives the renter/tenant ten (10) days from the day of service to vacate the premises. If this does not occur, a Sheriff’s Deputy will be assigned to issue the renter/tenant a Citation to Appear in District Court for the criminal offense of Failure to Vacate/Failure to Pay Rent, which is a misdemeanor. Any further proceedings would be only by direction of the District Court Judge.
MISSING PERSONS - How and under what conditions can I report someone missing?
Missing Person reports are separated into two general categories, Missing/Runaway Juveniles or Missing Adults.
Missing/Runaway Juveniles: The parent or guardian of any juvenile (under 18 years of age) may file a missing person-runaway juvenile report at any time. These reports will be immediately entered into the NCIC/ACIC law enforcement database, which serves to alert any officer from any jurisdiction having contact with the juvenile that he or she is listed as missing or a runaway. Radio notification will be made to all officers on duty. Deputies will also follow-up on any leads provided by the parent/guardian as to the possible location of the juvenile.
Missing Adults: Any person eighteen (18) years of age or older is considered to be an adult with full freedom of movement and liberty. Exceptions include persons 18 years of age or older who remain under the legal guardianship of another adult or protective services. Deputies will take reports of missing adults at any time. The extent of any follow-up will depend upon the circumstances of the disappearance. For example, if evidence indicates that the missing person is endangered or may have been forcibly abducted, deputies immediately begin follow-up on leads. If the missing person simply has not been seen recently but no evidence of foul play is found, then options and responsibilities in those cases are limited under the law and department policy.
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:
- Reports and paperwork relating to criminal cases remaining open and under investigation
- Certain personnel records
- Records sealed/expunged by court order
- Records relating to juveniles (under 18 years of age).
Administration staff will not compile statistical or comparative data for individuals, nor 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) 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 generally does not investigate the accident himself. That investigation 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.
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, 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 Orders 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 greater 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.
- Restraining Orders 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. The Sheriff’s Office has pre-printed information available on how to obtain Orders of Protection, how to obtain the services of a victim’s advocate, and how to obtain the services of a shelter. Any deputy will be glad to provide these materials or try to answer any questions about the Sheriff’s Office procedures in responding to and investigating incidents of Domestic Violence.
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 thousands of Warrants of Arrest issued by the District Court and Circuit Court. All of these warrants constitute public records under the Freedom of Information Act. Any person can obtain information on arrest warrants pertaining to himself or herself or any other person by contacting 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 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 accepts either cash for the bond or a surety bond issued by a professional licensed bail bonding company. The Sheriff's Office generally does not accept or approve an O/R Bond (release on own recognizance) or a property bond. Misdemeanor arrest warrants may be served anywhere in the State of Arkansas. Felony arrest warrants are extraditable from anywhere within the United States. The Sheriff's Office is very aggressive in serving arrest warrants and extradition is generally authorized whenever we are notified a person is in custody in another jurisdiction on a Cross County warrant. 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 to satisfy the warrant within the boundaries of the law and department policy.
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 Cross County Sheriff's Office is the law enforcement agency that handles the registration process of all Sex Offenders who reside in Cross County with the exception of those that reside within the City of Wynne.
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 to the Sheriff's Office every 6 months to re-register. A level 4 Sex Offender is required to come every 3 months to re-register. When a Sex Offender moves into the State of Arkansas, he is required to be evaluated before he is assigned a risk level. This process sometimes takes 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 on WEBSITE-What or who determines which sex offenders go on the website?
The Cross County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for notifying the public of where Registered Sex Offenders live. Under Arkansas Law, the public is notified only for Level 3 and Level 4 Sex Offenders. In 2007, a law was passed allowing public notification on Level 2 Sex Offenders IF the Sex Offender is 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 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 the crime and go door-to-door notifying the neighbors of who the Sex Offender is and where he lives. It is the belief of the Cross 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.