Driving under the influence is illegal in all fifty states, but each state’s laws regarding DUI or DWI vary a good deal. In some states, you may face serious consequences on the DUI first offense, while in other states, the first offense of drunk driving may be a misdemeanor with consequences that won’t turn your life upside down.
Regardless of where you live, being arrested for and charged with DUI or DWI is serious business, and you’ll need the help of an experienced DUI attorney to get you through the long, complicated, costly process of a DUI. A DUI lawyer with knowledge of Arkansas DUI law will help minimize the consequences if you’re convicted; your attorney will do everything in his power to get the charges dropped or get you acquitted of the DUI charge.
DUI Law in Arkansas
Highlights of Arkansas’ DUI law are as follows:
Even a first offense DUI conviction can lead to jail time in Arkansas; in fact, you may go to jail for up to a year if you plead guilty to DUI or are found guilty by a judge or jury. For your first three DUI offenses, you will be charged with a misdemeanor, but don’t let that word fool you. Your first DUI offense will not be a walk in the park as some misdemeanors are.
The penalties for each subsequent misdemeanor charge of DUI get more serious, and when you hit your fourth arrest for DUI, you will be charged with a felony. At that moment, the penalties are so severe your life will be forever changed.
Penalties for your first DUI conviction in Arkansas may include the following:
- 24 hours to one year in jail
- $150 to $1,000 fine (and court costs on top of that)
- Suspension of your driver’s license for up to six months
- Up to one year of using an ignition interlock device, which you must finance
Also, before sentencing for your first DUI offense in Arkansas, the convicted offender must obtain a drug and alcohol evaluation from the Arkansas Department of Human Services; the presiding judge in your case will review the screening report and use the report in deciding on your sentence.
What to Expect at a DUI Arrest
At the time of your DUI arrest, the arresting officer will take possession of your driver’s license and issue a temporary permit. When the permit expires, your driver’s license will be suspended for six months, typically, if you have no prior DWI suspensions within the last five years. During this revocation period, you may be able to obtain a restricted license, which may require you get an ignition interlock device. You must complete an alcohol education and treatment program prior to getting your license reinstated if that is so ordered by the court.
According to Arkansas state law, “intoxicated” means the person has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater or the “person’s reaction and motor skills are substantially altered as the result of ingesting alcohol, a controlled substance, or any other intoxicant.” Another specific thing about Arkansas law is that in order to be charged with DUI, a person cannot have “actual physical control” of a vehicle while intoxicated (with a BAC of 0.08% or higher). Even if you’re sitting in the driver’s seat and the car is off, you can be arrested for DUI. The engine does not have to be running as it does in other states.
If you have been charged with DWI or breath test refusal in Arkansas, call Milligan Law Offices at 479-783-2213 or email us to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.