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Criminal Defense

The criminal defense attorneys at McDaniel, Wolff & Benca PLLC understand that freedom is the central tenet of all civil liberties. Taking immediate action by building a strong, effective defense is key to protecting yourself and your freedoms. We regularly handle the most complex, high-profile criminal cases of any kind or nature. Whether your case involves allegations of white collar crimes, violent crimes, or anything in-between, we stand ready to provide you with the best criminal defense possible.

Our criminal defense team is led by Patrick Benca. Patrick has decades of experience in successfully defending criminal charges of almost any kind or nature, including white collar crimes, homicide charges, drug charges, juvenile cases, criminal appeals, and much more. In 2011, Patrick represented Damien Echols of the West Memphis Three and famously facilitated an Alford Plea deal that would result in Echols’ freedom.

If we can assist you with a pending criminal matter, call our criminal defense attorneys today for a free consultation at 501-954-8000, or submit an inquiry via our contact form available here.

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The Role Of A Criminal Defense Attorney

The fundamental role of a criminal defense attorney is to provide their clients with a vigorous and competent defense in the criminal justice system. They have a duty to their clients to ensure that those accused of a crime receive due process of law and enjoy every possible benefit from their talent that justice allows. Consequently, the role of criminal defense attorneys is essential for the safeguarding of civil liberties in a modern democracy.

We understand that questions often arise throughout the legal process, and our criminal defense attorneys ensure that they are accessible to clients with questions. Our firm’s goal is to aggressively defend your rights while keeping you informed throughout the process about what is happening, what to expect, and what your options are.

Once our criminal defense team is retained, we will immediately begin work on your case, including but not limited to the following:

  • Determining if your arrest was lawful.
    • Did law-enforcement search your property without following proper procedures?
    • Did law-enforcement use unreasonable force against you?
    • Did law-enforcement force you to answer questions without being advised of your rights?
  • Implementing a thorough investigation of your case.
    • Locate and interview witnesses.
    • Visit the alleged scene of the crime.
    • Gathering exculpatory evidence.
    • Analyze police reports and medical reports.
    • Evaluating the credibility of the prosecution’s witnesses.
  • Negotiating with prosecutors to get your charges reduced or dismissed.
  • Developing a legal strategy and prepare for trial.
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White Collar Crimes

We have a proven and extensive track record in white collar criminal litigation. Our criminal defense attorneys have represented individuals and business entities in many different forums where white collar criminal issues have been raised, including early-stage situations that raise potential criminal exposure such as internal investigations, regulatory and administrative proceedings, and grand jury investigations.

White collar crimes are typically non-violent crimes that are financially motivated and committed by a business or its employees. Possible charges can include:

  • Mail and wire fraud
  • Embezzlement
  • Insurance fraud
  • Tax evasion
  • Money laundering
  • Securities fraud
  • Obstruction of justice
  • Healthcare fraud
  • Bribery
  • Environmental crimes
  • Bank fraud

Our firm has extensive experience defending federal and state white collar criminal prosecutions and assisting clients in all investigatory stages of potential criminal matters. Our criminal defense attorneys have been involved in virtually every aspect of criminal litigation and related civil proceedings.

If we can assist you with white collar criminal charges, call our criminal defense attorneys today for a free consultation at 501-954-8000, or submit an inquiry via our contact form available here.

Violent Crimes

Under Arkansas law, if you’ve been convicted of a violent crime then the punishments can range from jail or prison time to the death penalty depending on the severity of the charges. The results of these charges have serious and life-altering repercussions. It’s critically important to have an experienced violent crime attorney to minimize legal consequences and build a legal defense around alibi, self-defense, or defense of an innocent third party.

Contact our criminal defense attorneys today if you’ve been charged with any of the following violent crimes:

  • Homicide
  • Rape or sexual assault
  • Aggravated robbery
  • Aggravated residential burglary
  • Assault or battery
  • Domestic abuse
  • Kidnapping
  • Terroristic threatening

If we can assist you with violent crime charges, call our criminal defense attorneys today for a free consultation at 501-954-8000, or submit an inquiry via our contact form available here.

Drug Charges

Drug crimes in Arkansas can result in very serious penalties, including jail or prison time, fines, a criminal record, driver’s license suspensions or the loss of driving privileges, an inability to pursue certain professional occupations, and/or a refusal to be admitted to certain college or graduate school programs.

Drug crimes are often punishable as federal offenses, in addition to state offenses. Federal drug crimes generally result in lengthier prison sentences and steeper fines. Therefore, it is essential to hire an experienced Arkansas criminal defense attorney to help you achieve the lightest possible sentence if you are convicted of a drug crime, or to have your charges reduced or dismissed altogether.

Some drug charges may be eligible for hearing before Arkansas’ drug courts, which are specially designed courts the purposes of which are to achieve a reduction in substance abuse among nonviolent offenders and to increase the offender’s likelihood of successful habilitation through early, continuous, and intense judicially supervised treatment, mandatory periodic drug testing, community supervision, and use of appropriate sanctions and other rehabilitation services.

Our criminal defense attorneys are experienced in defending drug cases throughout Arkansas and will make every effort to help you avoid the most serious penalties and repercussions for your alleged offense.

If we can assist you with pending drug charges, call our criminal defense attorneys today for a free consultation at 501-954-8000, or submit an inquiry via our contact form available here.

Juvenile Crimes

Sometimes juvenile behavior can go from simple misbehaving to crossing over into serious criminal offenses. Juvenile crimes are typically committed by minors aged 10 to 18 years old that would be ordinarily charged as a felony, misdemeanor, or other criminal violation if committed by an adult.

As a result of the special nature of these cases, Arkansas law requires that a special juvenile court process these cases. In juvenile court, normally a judge decides on a verdict as opposed to a jury. The emphasis is on the best interests of the child and rehabilitation before they become an adult because children should be kept out of the criminal justice system as much as possible. Court hearings are typically closed to the public and there are no set sentencing guidelines. That means that the juvenile court judge has significant discretion to determine the punishment to be set for the minor offender.

A juvenile case is often a very sensitive matter and often involves the whole family. It’s important to involve an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as the charges have been made.

If we can assist you with a juvenile matter, call our criminal defense attorneys today for a free consultation at 501-954-8000, or submit an inquiry via our contact form available here.

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Sex Crimes

If you have been accused of committing a sexual offense in Arkansas, it is important to immediately contact an criminal defense attorney that is experience in handling sex crime allegations. Sex crime charges can result in harsh punishments if the alleged offender is convicted of the offense, including prison sentences, fines, a criminal record, sex offender registration requirements, an inability to pursue certain professions and occupations, ineligibility to be admitted into certain graduate school programs and colleges, and a negative impact on personal and business relationships.

Our experienced sex crime attorneys can help you avoid harsh penalties such as jail or prison time, fines, probation, parole, or lifetime sex offender registration. We will give you expert defense for false allegations and expert guidance during the police investigation. We have a proven track record of identifying mitigating factors in a defense such as:

  • Accuser motivation
  • Evidence suppression
  • A biased or suggestive interview
  • Witness misidentification
  • Consent
  • Illegal search and seizure by law enforcement

For those that have been convicted of a sex crime, it may be possible to be removed from the sex offender registry. Eligibility to be removed is generally determined by meeting the minimum time requirement on the registry, having no additional sexual offenses requiring registration, and satisfying the court that you are not a current or potential threat to public safety. If you think that you might be eligible to be removed then our criminal defense attorneys can help you.

If we can assist you with pending sex crime charges, call our criminal defense attorneys today for a free consultation at 501-954-8000, or submit an inquiry via our contact form available here.

Misdemeanor and Felony Expungement

The criminal defense attorneys at McDaniel, Wolff & Benca PLLC have extensive experience helping individuals expunge and clean their criminal records. A criminal record including an arrest or conviction can create obstacles for your future, including your ability to secure loans or even qualify for jobs. Under Arkansas law it may possible to expunge your criminal record or arrest record and remove these obstacles.

Qualification for misdemeanor and felony expungement is determined by multiple factors including:

  • Completion of sentence
  • Fines, court costs, restitution paid
  • Diversion or rehabilitation programs in some cases
  • No crimes committed for disqualifying charges
  • Severity of criminal record
  • Severity of crime committed

Our criminal defense attorneys can work with you to determine if expungement is an option. If permitted by law, we will make every effort to help you have your record sealed or expunged.

If we can assist you with an expungement of your criminal record, call our criminal defense attorneys today for a free consultation at 501-954-8000, or submit an inquiry via our contact form available here.

Probation Revocation

When you are placed on probation, you are advised of the conditions of that supervision. Violating any of the terms or conditions of probation, whether intentionally or by accident, could subject you to having your probation revoked. In Arkansas, violations of probation can include:

  • Being charged with a new crime while on probation
  • Failing to report to your probation officer
  • Failing to appear in court on scheduled date
  • Failing to pay fines and court fees
  • Failing to comply with a court order
  • Failing to perform mandated community service
  • Failing to take mandatory drug tests
  • Testing positive for drug and alcohol use
  • Failing to get court-ordered treatment or counseling
  • Associating with known criminals
  • Failing to maintain gainful employment or a steady job
  • Failing to abide by any court-ordered curfew
  • Failing to maintain a residence in the County of the probation precinct
  • Traveling outside of the County without requesting a travel permit

If you have been arrested for or accused of violating your probation, you should contact and obtain the services of a criminal defense attorney experienced in probation violations. We can help you turn yourself in, protect your rights and negotiate with judges and prosecutors to try to reduce potential penalties, including jail time.

If we can assist you with a revocation of your probation, call our criminal defense attorneys today for a free consultation at 501-954-8000, or submit an inquiry via our contact form available here.

Weapons Crimes

Possessing an illegal weapon, carrying an illegal weapon, improperly discharging a firearm, or using a firearm in the commission of a crime are all serious offenses in Arkansas. Arkansas law lays out the types of weapons you can and cannot have and circumstances under which you are allowed to use them. If you are charged with violating these laws you could be facing felony charges and severe penalties.

Common weapons charges in Arkansas include:

  • Possession an Instrument of Crime (possessing any instrument of crime with the intent to use it criminally)
  • Possession of Firearms by Certain Persons (convicted felons and mentally ill persons, generally)
  • Criminal Use of Prohibited Weapons (bombs, metal knuckles, or unregistered Federal Firearms Act weapons such as machine guns, sawed-off shotguns and silencers)
  • Defacing a Firearm (removing, defacing, altering, or destroying the manufacturer’s serial number)
  • Possession of a Defaced Firearm (possessing a defaced firearm)
  • Criminal Acts Involving Explosives (illegally selling, possessing, manufacturing, transferring, or transporting explosive material or a destructive device)
  • Furnishing Minors with Deadly Weapons (selling, giving, or otherwise furnishing a firearm or deadly weapon to a minor without the consent of their parent or guardian)
  • Unlawful Procurement of a Firearm (providing false information to a licensed dealer or private seller of firearms)
  • Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon (carrying a handgun, knife, or club on your person or in your vehicle, or otherwise where it is readily available with the purpose to use it unlawfully against another person)

If we can assist you with a pending gun charge, call our criminal defense attorneys today for a free consultation at 501-954-8000, or submit an inquiry via our contact form available here.

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