Nearly every year Arkansas lawmakers pass laws that pertain to state residents. Some of these laws only make minor changes and most people remain blissfully unaware of these actions.
In 2021, two laws that touched on criminal defense measures in the state became law in 2022.
The Concealed Carry Act
The Fort Smith Times Record reported that Act 1024 changed some of the legal issues of where a person can carry a concealed handgun in the state. A person with a concealed carry license can bring a handgun to the following places:
- Public universities, colleges or community colleges
- The parking lot of a private employer
- The parking lot of publicly owned and maintained property
- Locally owned and operated units of government
The law took effect on January 13, 2022. This came 90 days after the end of the legislative session.
Prison sentence completion
Act 681 requires a convicted person in the state to serve at least 80 percent of a prison sentence without the chance of parole; this only pertains to serious felonies that involve violence and aggravated circumstances. These serious felonies include the following crimes:
- Murder in the first degree
- Murder in the second degree
- Battery in the first degree
- Aggravated assault
- A terroristic act
- Unlawful discharge of a firearm from a vehicle
Other covered crimes include arson and a felony charge of terroristic threatening, as well as the attempt to commit any of the listed crimes. The act defines aggravated circumstances as cases where the defendant chose the victim based on identifiable characteristics of a specific group or class. Targeted victims must share certain “mental, physical, biological, cultural, political or religious” traits.