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 a 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.