Arkansas outlaws the act of operating a motor vehicle while
under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In this state, this offense is called
Driving While Intoxicated or DWI. Judges in Arkansas punish DWIs with severe
penalties that include jail time and license suspension or revocation.
Law enforcement enforces the state’s DWI laws by arresting drivers
who are over the legal allowable blood alcohol content level. The state
utilizes implied consent laws to compel drivers to comply with DWI testing.
Blood Alcohol Content Limits in Arkansas
Like most states, Arkansas establishes different levels for
blood alcohol content. The standard per se BAC limit for drivers 21 years of
age and older of passenger vehicles is higher than 0.08 percent.
The allowable BAC limit for drivers of commercial vehicles is lower, however. If they are found to have BACs of 0.04 percent or higher, commercial drivers can be arrested for and charged with DWI in Arkansas.
The state also has a separate blood alcohol content level
for drivers under the age of 21. Underage drivers must have BACs of 0.02
percent or lower to avoid being charged with this offense.
In Arkansas, it is also possible to be charged with
aggravated or enhanced DWI. A driver’s blood alcohol content level must be 0.15
percent or higher to satisfy this charge. An enhanced or aggravated DWI comes
with harsher penalties and steeper fines.
Arkansas law enforcement officers and judges use a number of
means to enforce the state’s DWI laws. These methods include:
interlock devices or IIDs
suspension or revocation
insurance documents for both first-time and repeat DWI offenders
Arkansas DWI Penalties
Arkansas judges have the option of meting out a number of
penalties to people who are convicted of DWI. These punishments are designed to
dissuade drivers from operating vehicles while inebriated. They also encourage drivers
convicted of this crime to reform their behavior in the future.
First-time DWI offenders in Arkansas are often charged with
a misdemeanor. This conviction results in a fine of $150 to $1000. Offenders
must also pay their own court costs.
They additionally can be sentenced to 24 hours to one year
in jail. In certain circumstances, however, offenders can perform community
service in lieu of jail time.
Their drivers licenses will be suspended for up to six
months. They also must use an IID for the same period of time that their
licenses are suspended. Finally, they must submit an SR22 to the state to
accept financial responsibility for their DWI offense.
Second-time DWI offenders in Arkansas are charged with a
misdemeanor and face paying a civil fine of $400 to $3000. They can serve
anywhere from seven days to one year in jail. They could have their jail
sentences substituted with community service.
They likewise face having their drivers’ licenses suspended for up to 24 months. They can have their licenses reinstated with IID restrictions after 45 days, however, in certain circumstances.
Second-time DWI convictions also result in the use of an IID for the same period of time as the person’s drivers’ license is suspended. Offenders must attend alcohol treatment and evaluation program and also provide an SR22 to the state.
A third-time DWI misdemeanor conviction in Arkansas results
in a myriad of penalties. The fine for this offense tops out at $5000. Jail
sentences can be as long as one year with community service substituted for
some or all of it. The person’s license can be suspended for up to 30 mos, and
he or she must use an IID for the same amount of time.
The offender also must provide an SR22 to the state. He or
she must also complete an alcohol evaluation and treatment program.
A fourth DWI conviction in Arkansas is a felony. Jail
sentences can max out at six years while license suspensions can last for four
years. Like misdemeanor convictions, a felony DWI requires the completion of
alcohol evaluation and treatment, the use of an IID, and submission of an SR22.
Arkansas Implied Consent Refusal Penalties
Drivers in Arkansas are not given the option of refusing
field sobriety or chemical testing to determine if they are driving while
intoxicated. People who refuse testing can be placed under arrest and face
civil and criminal penalties.
Like DWI, implied consent refusal in Arkansas has different punishments for each infraction. A first-time refusal is punished by 180 days suspension of one’s drivers’ license, use of an IID for the same period of time as the license suspension, and submission of an SR22.
A second refusal for chemical testing can be punished with a two-year driver’s’ license suspension, use of an IID for two years, and an SR22 requirement. A third chemical testing refusal can result in 30 months suspension of one’s drivers’ license, use of an IID during that entire period, and submitting an SR22 to the state each month.
Drivers who refuse chemical testing under the state’s implied consent laws for the fourth time can have their licenses revoked permanently. Even though they are not legally allowed to drive, they also will have to submit an SR22 to the state after they are convicted.
More about the SR22 Form
An SR22 is a form that an insurer files with the state. It assures Arkansas that a driver who is convicted of an offense like DWI carries the minimal legal amount of insurance on his or her vehicle. It also guarantees that the driver will take financial responsibility for any accidents that he or she causes while driving.
Depending on the penalties for the offense, the driver may
have to contact the insurance company each month to have this form submitted.
If the state fails to receive the SR22, the driver cannot legally drive a motor
vehicle until the document is on file.
DWI in Arkansas results in a myriad of legal punishments.
There are different levels of DWI in the state. They all carry different
penalties to discourage drivers from engaging in this criminal behavior.