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DUI/DWI Information for Arkansas

Driving under influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated/impaired (DWI) is an offence committed when a driver operates a vehicle after the consumption of alcohol or drugs or other intoxicants. Increased alcohol levels in the driver's blood lead to diminished mental and motor reactions which, in turn, reduce the driver's ability to control the vehicle. This significantly increases the risk of the driver committing errors of judgment and often results in accidents causing severe injuries and even death.

In Arkansas as in the rest of the US, drunk driving is the single largest cause of motor vehicle related fatalities and accounts for an alarmingly high 40% to 50% of the total number of motor vehicle related deaths every year.

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REGULATIONS FOR DUI/DWI IN ARKANSAS

In Arkansas, the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit is set at 0.08% for drivers over 21 years of age and it is set at 0.02% for those under 21. For commercial drivers, the limit is set at 0.04%.

Having an Arkansas license automatically provides your consent to be tested if stopped by a law enforcement officer, while driving. This is the law of "implied consent" and can be used by the officer to test you if you are stopped on the suspicion of drunk driving, either through a breathalyser test or by an actual blood test to check the BAC. Refusing to take the chemical test will result in losing your license.

Points will be added to your driving record and your license will be suspended or revoked, if you convicted of DUI/DWI. The number of points assessed, depend on the severity of the offense and the number of times you have been convicted for it.

ACTIONS AGAINST DUI/DWI FOR DRIVERS OVER 21:

If you are over 21 years old, and are caught with BAC higher than the set limit of 0.08%, you may be subjected to criminal actions in addition to administrative actions. If the DUI/DWI incident you are involved in is subjected to criminal action, it is recommended that you get in touch with a DUI/DWI lawyer as they are experts at handling such incidents and can offer you the best advice.

  1. The first offense may result in imprisonment for up to one year and/or minimum $100 fine. Also, if convicted for a first offense BAC or DWI (BAC over 0.08%) or for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID):
    • 14 points will be added to your driving record.
    • Your license will be suspended for up to 120 days.
    • You will have to pay $300.00 as court costs.
    • You may be ordered public service instead of imprisonment.
  2. The second offense may result in imprisonment for seven days to one year and/or $400- $3000 fine. Also, if convicted for the second offense of DWI, DUID or BAC:
    • 14 points will be added to your driving record.
    • Your license will be suspended for two years.
    • For your second offense you are eligible to apply for a Restricted Permit and Ignition Interlock after one year, but not eligible if you refuse to submit to a test.
    • You may have to undertake community service for 30 days or more.
  3. The third offense may result in imprisonment for one to six years (minimum 90 days) and/or $900- $5000 fine. Also, if convicted for the third offense of DWI, DUID or BAC:
  4. 14 points will be added to your driving record.
  5. Your license will be suspended for thirty months.
    • If three or more convictions occur for DWI or BAC or a combination of the two, the driver will face a ten-year license denial. For your third offense are not eligible to apply for a Restricted Permit for at least one year. Your license will be revoked for three years with no option for a Restricted Permit if you refuse to submit to a test.
    • You may have to undertake public service for 90 days.
  6. The fourth offense is treated as a Felony and may result in imprisonment for one to six years and/or $900- $5000 fine. Also, if convicted for the fourth offense of DWI, DUID or BAC:
  7. 14 points will be added to your driving record.
  8. Your license will be suspended for four years.
  9. If you refuse to submit to a test your license will be revoked for life.
    • You may have to undertake community service for a year.
  10. The fifth offense is treated as a Felony and may result in imprisonment between two to ten years and/or $900 to $5000 fine. Also, if convicted for the fifth or subsequent offenses of DWI, DUID or BAC:
  11. 14 points will be added to your driving record.
  12. Your license will be revoked for a year.
    • You may have to undertake public service for a year if not imprisoned.

ACTIONS AGAINST DUI/DWI FOR DRIVERS UNDER 21

  1. If you are convicted under the "minor in possession/other alcohol offenses" law(trying to purchase, possessing or having purchased any intoxicant; or being intoxicated using alcohol, drugs or other intoxicants; or having a BAC higher than 0.02%) while driving may be revoked until age of 21 plus a $2000 fine.
  2. As per the law, the court may order a minor's license to be suspended revoked for any alcohol or drug-related offense (including possession and use) while driving; or a second offense of possessing or using alcohol by some one under 21; or for changing or lying on your driver license. It is a good idea to consult your DUI/DWI lawyer for appropriate procedures.
  3. Apart from these actions, penalties mentioned above for drivers over 21, may also apply to minors if they are convicted of DUI/DWI.

ACTIONS AGAINST DUI/DWI FOR COMMERCIAL VEHICLE DRIVERS

If you drive a commercial vehicle and hold a commercial driver license (CDL):

  1. 2 points will be added to your driving record and you will be barred from driving a commercial vehicle for a year, if you are convicted for your BAC being higher than 0.04%. You will also be issued an "out-of-service" order valid for 24 hours by the arresting officer if your BAC less than 0.04% but a tiny amount is detected.
  2. You will be barred from driving a commercial vehicle, if you are convicted for your BAC being higher than 0.04% while transporting hazardous materials, or refusing to take a breath test or for driving while intoxicated.
  3. You will be barred from driving a commercial vehicle for life if you are convicted for any of these offenses for the second time.
  4. Apart from these actions, penalties mentioned above for drivers over 21, may also apply to commercial drivers for their first and second offenses of DUI/DWI. The other penalties do not apply since they are barred after the second offense.

ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIONS AGAINST DUI/DWI:

Arkansas laws have administrative implications in addition to the criminal laws against DUI/DWI. An officer may arrest a driver if:

  • He/she is aged 21 and above and is driving with BAC 0.08% or more.
  • He/she is aged below 21 and is driving with BAC 0.02% or more.
  • He/she is driving a commercial vehicle with BAC 0.04% or more.

Under this action, if you are arrested for DUI/DWI, the arresting officer will confiscate your Arkansas driver license and issue a temporary 30-day driving permit, file an AIR (Alcohol Influence Report), complete a notice of license suspension/revocation based on the nature of the offense along with a warrant, if applicable.

You may be eligible to drive using the Restricted Permit if BAC is below 0.15, you did not refuse the test and do not have other alcohol offenses. After the arresting police officer gives you Official Driver's License Receipt and Notice of Suspension/Revocation of Driving Privilege you can drive for 30 days. You are later become eligible to reinstate your license, if you meet the reinstatement requirements. In some cases you may be eligible for Restricted Permit for school or work. It is a good idea to consult your DUI/DWI lawyer for the same.

The driver can schedule an administrative hearing within 7 days of the notice of suspension/revocation. It is a good idea to consult a DUI/DWI lawyer beforehand. If the hearing goes against the driver, his license will be suspended or revoked based on his previous driving record. If he has any alcohol related convictions or suspensions for this five-year period, his license will be revoked for one year, and if not, then it will be suspended for 120 days. You may be eligible to drive using the Restricted Permit. The suspension or revocation begins 15 days after the final order of the hearing officer is mailed from the Department of Finance and Administration.

If the driver, however, does not request a hearing, then the suspension/revocation begins on the 15th day after the arrest, and is final.

LICENSE REINSTATEMENT AFTER DUI/DWI SUSPENSION/REVOCATION:

If you are convicted of DUI/DWI, it will result in your license being suspended or revoked. This means that your driving privileges will be taken away and you will need to apply for a reinstatement of your license with the Department of Finance and Administration, once the period of suspension or revocation is over. Reinstating a license after a suspension of a year, or revocation will also mean taking the driving tests all over again. These will include the vision test, knowledge test and the road test. If you do not complete the reinstatement requirements, the license will remain suspended or revoked.

  1. To complete the reinstatement requirements, you must prove that you have successfully completed the Drug Alcohol Safety Educational Program (DASEP) or a comparable program (the agency will send the proof to the Office of Driver Services once you have completed the program), pay the reinstatement fee of $150.00, and maintain proof of financial responsibility for two years from the date of suspension/revocation by filing SR-22, if you are over 21 years old.
  2. If you are being convicted, those who can afford will require ignition interlock device to be placed for breathalyser tests on any vehicle you drive for one year.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

  • DUI/DWI has been a major cause of death and injury in our nation and it is our duty to prevent such needless pain and suffering. Simply: If you drink, DON'T DRIVE! If we all follow this rule to the letter - thousands of lives will be saved each year.
  • If you have been charged with a DUI/DWI get help from a DUI/DWI Lawyer.
  • See also Suspended License, Point System and Traffic Ticket Lawyers.
  • For out of state drivers: The state of Arkansas has an out-of-state Driver's License Compact Agreement where by DUI convictions in this state will be reported to your home state. The latter usually will suspend your license.
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