What is a Prosecuting Attorney?
Updated Blog Post
Are you looking at your sample ballot for the Nov. 8 election? There are a lot of jobs on the ballot that Arkansans might not know what they do.
Today we highlight the job of a prosecuting attorney, who along with judges are non-partisan positions that might be on the ballot in your community.
Non-partisan means candidates for prosecuting attorney are not identified on the ballot as a Democrat or Republican. Arkansas voters adopted this practice by approving Amendment 80 to the Arkansas Constitution in 2000.
Prosecuting Attorneys in Arkansas
Prosecuting attorneys are government lawyers responsible for pursuing criminal charges against people accused of violating state and local laws. They take the information collected by law enforcement and explain in court why that person should be held accountable They prosecute felony cases, juvenile cases, and misdemeanor offenses that occur outside city limits.
Some prosecuting attorneys serve multiple counties, and some stay within one county.
Term in Office:
Prosecuting Attorneys serve four-year terms. Although they are elected locally and they submit their department budgets to county Quorum Courts, prosecutor salaries are set by the Independent Citizens Commission.
Voters created the commission by approving a constitutional amendment in 2014. The commission reviews and sets the salaries of constitutional officers, legislators, judges and prosecutors. Prosecuting attorneys are paid between $141,217 and $166,138 depending on the population of the counties they serve.
- United States citizen
- At least 18 years old
- Registered to vote
- Live within the district they're running to represent
- No fraud or felony convictions
- Licensed attorney for at least four years immediately before assuming office
Over their four-year term, a prosecuting attorney is responsible for:
- Deciding whether to charge a person accused of a crime.
- Making recommendations related to a person's bail.
- Prosecuting criminal actions in court.
- Making recommendations related to a person's prison sentencing.
- Summoning people to testify before grand juries.
- Provide notice on court hearings to victims or families of victims.
- Assisting people with accessing victim services.
- Working with the county treasurer to process and account for any fines or fees collected.
- Overseeing deputy prosecutors in their office.
Additionally, prosecuting attorneys often communicate with defense attorneys to set the terms of a plea bargain for people accused of a crime.
Look at Your November Ballot
Early voting starts Oct. 24 and Election Day is Nov. 8. Find out what is on your ballot at the Arkansas Secretary of State's VoterView website, https://www.voterview.ar-nova.org/VoterView.
Use our 2022 Arkansas Ballot Issues Voter Guide to learn about the constitutional amendments on this year's ballot.