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Debra Joan Cheatham Reece
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Debra Reece’s Answers

716 total


  • Do I have to get probation or can I pay it off

    I got caught with .3 grams of marijuana what's going to happen I'm 17 years of age

    Debra’s Answer

    It all depends. Some courts will allow your attorney to work out a deal with the prosecutor where you pay a civil penalty and there is no conviction on your record. There are many variations on this. Your first step needs to be hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer. You don't mention whether this is being handled in juvenile court or in regular district misdemeanor court. So get a lawyer and talk to them about it.

    Good luck.

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  • What needs to be on a request for a hearing if anything? And shouldn't an appeal be done before a admin hearing?

    I need help with my request, not sure I am saying what needs to be said. This is what I have so far. "I received the enclosed notice on January 14th, 2016 which states the write to request a hearing on the placement of my name in the Child Maltrea...

    Debra’s Answer

    I agree with Mr. Scholl. A Child Maltreatment hearing in Arkansas is very different than in Connecticut. The laws are often different as well. If this is involving a Connecticut case, then you need to hire a lawyer licensed in Connecticut.

    I will tell you this much -- if this were an Arkansas case, you would definitely want to file an appeal to try to keep your name off the Child Maltreatment Registry. Some offenses cause your name to drop off after only a year, some are removable after one or five years, and some cause you to remain on the registry for life. Whether or not you are on a Child Maltreatment Registry can affect some jobs you could get, and many other rights and privileges you might have. So speak to a lawyer in the controlling jurisdiction immediately to find out your rights and responsibilities. Good luck!

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  • What should I do. I am guilty and I am not trying to get out of punishment, however I don't want this to possibly end my career

    I was caught shoplifting in Walmart for items less than 100.00. they apprehended me at the front brought me to the back and I returned the items. the police were called, I was not arrested, however I was given a citation for Theft of property 5-36...

    Debra’s Answer

    First, get off this public forum and don't discuss the specifics of your case publicly. You've already given enough information (crime, location, WalMart, nursing) to be able to target you, and prosecutors read these forums just like we criminal defense attorneys do.

    Second, hire a good criminal defense attorney right away. There are several options that might work in your area to completely keep this off your record and avoid a conviction. And while it may not automatically keep you from being able to renew your nursing license, many employers will not hire you (regardless of whether you are licensed) if you have a theft conviction on your record. After all, you would presumably be on hand around your patients' valuables in the hospital, nursing home, etc., where you work. You do NOT want a conviction. So do not just pay the fine (because that is an admission of guilt and will be put on your record as a conviction). Instead, hire a good criminal defense attorney who will plead you not guilty and then try to negotiate something with the prosecutor that will keep this off your permanent record.

    Good luck!

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  • How can I get third degree domestic battery charges dropped from over 2 years ago? we worked threw it & stayed 2gether.

    my son's dad was just picked up for third degree domestic battery from over 2 years ago and I had nothing to do with it how can we get it dropped?

    Debra’s Answer

    You need to speak to a criminal defense lawyer in your area immediately. First, there is no such thing as you "dropping the charges." The prosecutor brings the charges and only the prosecutor can drop them. Often, though, if the alleged victim in the domestic battery does not want the case prosecuted, the prosecutor will dismiss the charges voluntarily.

    If your son's father was arrested 2 years ago and they have only now charged him, then they have violated the speedy trial rule. On the other hand, if the alleged crime occurred two years ago and they have only now arrested him, they will have a statute of limitations problem (the statute of limitation is generally one year in a misdemeanor). The analysis of the case is going to depend on several factors, such as where has he been for the last two years and were the police easily able to find him, or did he move or leave the state or do something else that caused them not to be able to find him? He will need to discuss that with an attorney right away so a motion to dismiss can be made, if it is applicable.

    Good luck!

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  • What can I do legally about this situation?

    I have been in a hostile work environment and bullied by my previous boss. There was an incident last year that I brought to HR's attention. HR questioned other employees experiencing the same thing. HR gave the manager causing the hostile environ...

    Debra’s Answer

    You need to speak to a good employment law attorney in your geographic area (or perhaps out of your area, if the employer is a significant employer in the area). They will be able to determine whether you really were in a hostile work environment, as that term is defined under the law, and whether you have a case for wrongful termination or retaliation. Good luck!

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  • How can I terminate his rights without his signature or willingness?

    I have full custody and my ex is court ordered to pay child support and is granted visitation he has not seen or spoke to my daughter in almost 3 years and hasn't paid child support since December 2014. My daughter is 13 and dosent feel safe with ...

    Debra’s Answer

    Mr. Scholl is exactly correct. In Arkansas, only an adoption will terminate parental rights, but a parent can adopt her own child, thus leaving her as the sole parent. Some courts frown on these "single-natural-parent" adoptions, though; so whether you can do it will be up to the particular court. (You don't say whether you are married -- if you are, then a stepparent adoption may be the way to go, to replace the natural father with the stepfather.)

    If the court does not allow you to terminate the father's parental rights and adopt your own child, you may file a petition asking the court to terminate visitation or limit it to only supervised visitation. In that case, your daughter should testify and be able to explain why she does not feel comfortable going to her father's home. At age 13, she has probably achieved the age and maturity level that will carry at least some weight with the court.

    One final thing. Remember that terminating HIS parental rights also terminates your daughter's entire lineage to his family as well. That means she loses all her inheritance rights on his side of the family, which could be significant if his parents or grandparents have anything for her to inherit, or if she has any sort of close familial relationship with her paternal grandparents, aunts or uncles, cousins, etc. Be sure that what you are doing is in her best interests on all fronts, because an adoption is permanent and cannot be undone.

    Good luck!

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  • Can this be expunged from my record (it was not a felony) and if it is ,will it show if I apply for a job driving a truck?

    First time offense DUI. No previous record. I was stopped for not having a rear view mirror,someone stole it. I refused the drug test. My lawyer recommended pleading guilty so I did.

    Debra’s Answer

    This depends on whether it was a DUI, or you really mean DWI. A DWI can be sealed (we don't have true expungment that will actually destroy your record); but you cannot seal a DWI until a minimum of 5 years after the last part of the sentence has been completed. A DUI, on the other hand, is different than DWI in Arkansas (in some states, the terms are interchangeable). A DUI is when a driver under age 21 has any amount of alcohol above .02 in his/her system. A DUI does not have the 5-year lookback period that a DWI has, so it CAN be sealed like any other misdemeanor can be sealed. That doesn't mean the judge will do it, but you can petition for the judge to do it. You must wait at least 60 days AFTER the last part of your sentence is completed. So you must have the fine/costs paid, the classes (alcohol safety & MADD victim impact panel) taken, your drivers license reinstated, any community service performed, and be off probation. From the date the last thing is completed, you count 60 days, and that's the first date you can petition for sealing of your record. I will say, though, that on a DUI, a judge is usually going to wait at least 6 months to a year before they're going to believe you have demonstrated rehabilitation to the point where they will grant the petition.

    And yes, it will appear on your record if you apply for a job driving a truck. Driver Control is notified of the DUI (or a DWI) and they have a record of it as well. Once it is sealed, then Driver Control seals it, too.

    Good luck.

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  • Is lying to a Deputy or failure to disclosed that a person don't live at a address on where a subpoena served is obstructing ?

    My daughter was served with a subpoena to show up in court. The deputy prosecuting attorney issued the subpoena. The subpoena went to my dad house. My dad was charged with domestic violence on a family member which would be my daughter. My daugh...

    Debra’s Answer

    Mr. Bennett is correct. Whether your father should be charged with a crime is for a prosecutor to decide. However, it may have been done innocently. It's possible the deputy asked him if he knew your daughter, he said yes, and the deputy just handed it to him. They're supposed to verify that the person lives there, but I can tell you from personal experience, they don't always do things the way they're supposed to. Just talk to the prosecutor so he knows your daughter's correct address and let him/her deal with the other issue.

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  • What are the consequences for shoplifting for foreign students? Is it possible to keep the clean record? (AR)

    I am an international student in Arkansas. Me and my friend have been caught shoplifting 100-150$ worth of groceries. We both have clear records and this was the first time we did something like this. They took us to the office where we were ask...

    Debra’s Answer

    Ms. Barlow very ably answered your immigration questions, so let me address the criminal ones. While "dropping charges" means that they will dismiss the case, that is RARELY something that happens. It sounds like the officer just didn't want to deal with your questions and told you what he thought you wanted to hear. You need to hire a good criminal defense attorney in your area who can negotiate with the prosecutor. Most likely something can be worked out to keep this off your record (there are various ways to do that), but that will have to be worked out between your defense attorney and the prosecutor.

    In some states, a conviction can be expunged, but not in Arkansas. In Arkansas, it is merely sealed, but it is always available for law enforcement, judges, prosecutors, and (most importantly) Immigration. So it is very important that you keep it off your record on the front end, rather than trying to get it off your record after a conviction.

    Talk to a good criminal defense attorney immediately. Good luck.

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  • Is this legal to do? Can they give me a discount and then have me pay it back at the end of the semester?

    So i attend Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, AR. I am a college student and recently i have been billed from the college involving my dorm. At the beginning of the semester i was living in a triple room occupancy which means the school ga...

    Debra’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Probably so, unfortunately. They probably gave you a discount because the normal room rate is divided by two. Since it was divided by 3, they would have charged you less. Presumably, when the other two girls moved out, they were not still paying the dorm rent, so the discount would no longer apply. In other words, you probably only received a discount in those months when you had two roommates. You'll want to check whatever contract, etc., you had with them; but it is likely they could charge you the regular rate for the months after the other two moved out. It would have been nice if they had given you some notice of that.

    As for whether they can take the money out of your work study check, that also depends on any agreements with them. But usually there is something in the school policies or employment agreement that indicates if the student owes any tuition, fees, etc., at the end of the semester, that amount can be set off against any amount the school owes you. So they can probably do it.

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