(a)(1)(A)(i) When an accused enters a plea of guilty or nolo contendere prior to an adjudication of guilt, the circuit court or district court, in the case of a defendant who previously has not been convicted of a felony, without making a finding of guilt or entering a judgment of guilt and with the consent of the defendant, may defer further proceedings and place the defendant on probation for a period of not less than one (1) year, under such terms and conditions as may be set by the circuit court or district court.
(ii) A sentence of a fine not exceeding three thousand five hundred dollars ($3,500) or an assessment of court costs against a defendant does not negate the benefits provided by this section or cause the probation placed on the defendant under this section to constitute a conviction except under subsections (c)-(e) of this section.
(B) However, a person who is found guilty of or pleads guilty or nolo contendere to one (1) or more of the following offenses is not eligible for sealing of the record under this subchapter:
(i) An offense that requires the person to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration Act of 1997, § 12-12-901 et seq. ;
(ii) Public sexual indecency, § 5-14-111 ;
(iii) Indecent exposure, § 5-14-112 ;
(iv) Bestiality, § 5-14-122 ;
(v) Exposing another person to the human immunodeficiency virus, § 5-14-123 ; or
(vi) A serious felony involving violence or a felony involving violence as provided in § 5-4-501 .
(2) Upon violation of a term or condition, the court may enter an adjudication of guilt and proceed as otherwise provided.
(b) Upon fulfillment of the terms and conditions of probation or upon release by the court prior to the termination period thereof, the defendant shall be discharged without court adjudication of guilt, whereupon the court shall enter an appropriate order that shall effectively dismiss the case, discharge the defendant, and seal the record, if consistent with the procedures established in the Comprehensive Criminal Record Sealing Act of 2013, § 16-90-1401 et seq.
(c) During the period of probation described in subdivision (a)(1)(A)(i) of this section, a defendant is considered as not having a felony conviction except for:
(1) Application of any law prohibiting possession of a firearm by certain persons;
(2) A determination of habitual offender status;
(3) A determination of criminal history;
(4) A determination of criminal history scores;
(5) Sentencing; and
(6) A purpose of impeachment as a witness under Rule 609 of the Arkansas Rules of Evidence .
(d) After successful completion of probation placed on the defendant under this section, a defendant is considered as not having a felony conviction except for:
(1) A determination of habitual offender status;
(2) A determination of criminal history;
(3) A determination of criminal history scores;
(4) Sentencing; and
(5) A purpose of impeachment as a witness under Rule 609 of the Arkansas Rules of Evidence .
(e) The eligibility to possess a firearm of a person whose record has been sealed under this subchapter and the Comprehensive Criminal Record Sealing Act of 2013, § 16-90-1401 et seq. , is governed by § 5-73-103 .
(f) A court as a condition of probation shall order the defendant to:
(1)(A)(i) Enroll in and complete a vocational, technical, educational, or similar program if the court finds that the defendant's lack of an employable or marketable skill contributes to the defendant's being unemployed.
(ii) The court may order the person to pay tuition for any vocational, technical, educational, or similar program in installments after the completion of the education or training program.
(B) If the defendant is on probation at the end of the vocational, technical, educational, or similar program required under subdivision (f)(1)(A) of this section, he or she shall be required to work in suitable employment for the remainder of his or her probation or for three (3) years, whichever occurs earlier; or
(2) Work consistently in suitable employment for the entire duration of his or her probation or for three (3) years, whichever occurs earlier.
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