In Arkansas, you can be charged with a DWI if you have a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher, even if a police officer does not determine that your driving was impaired as a result. For minors, the legal limit is .02 percent while for commercial drivers the limit is .04 percent. It can also be noted that if you are in a vehicle and have the keys to the ignition, even if you are parked, you may still be charged with a DWI.
It’s not necessary for someone’s blood alcohol level to be tested for them to be charged with DWI. It’s even possible for someone who is below the legal limit to be charged with DWI as long as they show signs of impairment. DWI charges can also be brought if an officer finds evidence that someone is impaired by drugs, whether they are prescription or illegal.
Arkansas DWI laws state that when you are taken into custody due to a DWI, your license will be taken from you by the arresting officer, and you will be issued a temporary 30-day permit. You will also receive a notice that informs you that you have seven days to request an administrative hearing to determine if you were driving while intoxicated. If it is determined that this is the case, you will have your license suspended for six months for the first offense, two years for the second offense, 30 months for a third offense and four years for a fourth offense.
As with many other states, Arkansas is an implied consent state, meaning that if you are operating a vehicle, you are required by law to submit to a blood alcohol content test if law enforcement officers request it. Failure to submit to these tests carry penalties of an automatic license suspension as well as either jail time or community service. Repeat refusals to submit to these tests carry increasing penalties, and the fourth refusal within five years will lead to a permanently revoked license. The state recommends that officers determine your BAC at the time of driving, but results acquired at a later time can still lead to a conviction.
The first three times that someone is charged with DWI are misdemeanors. Within five years of the first conviction, the fourth and any subsequent DWI charge is considered a felony, and the penalties increase significantly. Conviction of a fourth DWI carries between one and six years in a penitentiary and at least one year of community service. The penalties for a fifth conviction are two to 10 years in prison or no less than two years of community service. In both cases, people will be fined between $900 and $5,000.
Recent Changes to Arkansas DWI Laws
Until July 31, 2009, if an individual was convicted of a second or third DWI, for the first year, they had no options for relief. Thanks to changes to the law, people can request an ignition interlock device that enables them to drive after the first 45 days of a suspension.
What Is The Legal Alcohol Limit In Arkansas?
Arkansas residents suspected of driving while intoxicated (DWI) may be asked by law enforcement to complete a blood or breath test in order to determine blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If a person’s BAC is equal to or greater than the legal alcohol limit of .08 percent, charges are typically filed.
The legal alcohol limit, of course, only applies to passenger motorists of legal drinking age. People under 21 are subject to a BAC limit of .02 percent, and commercial drivers can be charged with alcohol-related driving offenses if a BAC is .04 percent or greater.
Potential punishments for people convicted of standard first-time DWI offenses include:
- A fine of up to $1,000
- Jail time of up to one year
- License suspension of 120 days
- Mandatory attendance at alcohol treatment or education program
These are just the some of the state-mandated penalties levied against individuals. A DWI conviction can also result in raised insurance premiums, loss of a job and diminished career prospects, among other consequences.
Ignition Interlock Requirements In Arkansas
Under Arkansas law, all people convicted of driving while intoxicated offenses must install an ignition interlock device (IID) to have driving privileges reinstated. This device requires drivers to pass a breath test before a vehicle will start.
Conditions of having an IID include:
- The device must be installed by a state-authorized service provider.
- All costs for installing, leasing and servicing the device must be paid by a person convicted.
- Data from the device must be regularly collected by a service provider.
While coming with some drawbacks, ignition interlock devices typically are used by people convicted of DWI offenses given they allow individuals to drive again.
Arkansas DWI Penalties
Drivers in Arkansas who are 21 years old or older can be charged with DWI if they have a blood-alcohol concentration of at least .08 percent. For drivers who are under the legal drinking age, a charge of a DWI be levied with a BAC of .02 percent. Commercial drivers have a BAC limit of .04 percent, and the consequences can be particularly serious if the driver is in the process of operating a commercial vehicle at the time of intoxication.
A police officer may pull a vehicle over for any driving irregularities that raise suspicion about a driver’s condition to drive. These might include a lack of smooth acceleration, swerving in and out of lanes, abrupt stops or overall reckless driving.
The state of Arkansas has an enforced implied consent law, which means that a driver, by being behind the wheel of a car, automatically gives consent to a police officer to be tested for drug or alcohol use if the officer suspects that the driver might be intoxicated. If the driver refuses to be tested for his or her blood alcohol content, the driver’s license will automatically be revoked, and he or she will be subject to a fine.
First Arkansas DWI
When a driver in Arkansas receives a DWI charge for the first time, the penalty is a 6-month license suspension. The driver can spend from 24 hours to one year in jail or do community service. The fine can be anywhere from $150 to $1,000. The driver will have an ignition interlock device for 6 months beginning 30 days after their arrest. To have their license reinstated, the driver will have to attend an alcohol treatment program and pay a $150 fee per offense.
Second Arkansas DWI
Arkansas DWI penalties for a second offense within five years of a first, require the driver to spend seven days to one year in jail. The mandatory fine is anywhere from $400 to $3,000. The driver’s license will be suspended for 24 months, and they’ll have an ignition interlock system for two years after having their license reinstated. Reinstatement again requires attending an alcohol treatment program and a $150 fee per offense.
Third Arkansas DWI
Jail time for a third DWI is 90 days to 1 year with a fine of $900-$5,000. The driver will have their license suspended for 30 months, and an ignition interlock device may be allowed after 1 year by the court. The driver will serve a minimum of 90 days community service. Alcohol treatment and a $150 fee per offense are also required for the reinstatement of the driver’s license.
Fourth Arkansas DWI
A fourth DWI in Arkansas within a span of five years is a felony. The penalty is one to six years of jail time, a fine from $900-$5,000, license suspension for 4 years and a minimum of 1 year of community service. The driver’s vehicle may be seized. The driver will also have to complete an alcohol treatment program.
Drivers cannot plea for a conviction of a lesser offense in order to reduce Arkansas DWI penalties.