DUI Laws in Arkansas

This article provides a comprehensive overview of DUI and DWI laws in Arkansas, including definitions, penalties, legal procedures, and resources for those affected.

Driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) are serious offenses in Arkansas. These laws are designed to ensure public safety by deterring impaired driving and penalizing those who engage in it. This article provides a comprehensive overview of DUI and DWI laws in Arkansas, including definitions, penalties, legal procedures, and resources for those affected.

Definitions

DUI vs. DWI

In Arkansas, DUI and DWI are distinct offenses:

  • DWI (Driving While Intoxicated): This applies to drivers aged 21 and older who operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. It also covers impairment due to drugs.
  • DUI (Driving Under the Influence): This is typically used for drivers under 21 years of age with a BAC of 0.02% or higher.

The legal BAC limits in Arkansas are as follows:

  • Adults (21 and over): 0.08%
  • Commercial drivers: 0.04%
  • Minors (under 21): 0.02%

Arkansas Code Title 5, Subtitle 6, Chapter 65

The primary legal framework governing DUI and DWI offenses in Arkansas is found in Arkansas Code Title 5, Subtitle 6, Chapter 65. This chapter outlines the definitions, penalties, and procedures related to DUI and DWI offenses.

Arkansas Code Title 5, Subtitle 6, Chapter 65

Relevant Statutes

  • Arkansas Code § 5-65-103: This statute defines the offense of driving or boating while intoxicated.
  • Arkansas Code § 5-65-104: This statute outlines the penalties for DWI offenses.
  • Arkansas Code § 5-65-205: This statute covers the administrative suspension or revocation of driving privileges.

Arkansas Code § 5-65-103

Penalties

First Offense

For a first DWI offense, the penalties include:

  • Fines: $150 to $1,000
  • Jail Time: 24 hours to 1 year
  • License Suspension: 6 months
  • Alcohol Education Program: Mandatory attendance

Second Offense

For a second DWI offense within five years, the penalties increase:

  • Fines: $400 to $3,000
  • Jail Time: 7 days to 1 year
  • License Suspension: 2 years
  • Ignition Interlock Device: Mandatory installation

Third Offense

A third DWI offense within five years results in even harsher penalties:

  • Fines: $900 to $5,000
  • Jail Time: 90 days to 1 year
  • License Suspension: 30 months
  • Ignition Interlock Device: Mandatory installation

Fourth and Subsequent Offenses

A fourth or subsequent DWI offense within five years is classified as a felony:

  • Fines: $900 to $5,000
  • Jail Time: 1 to 6 years
  • License Suspension: 4 years
  • Ignition Interlock Device: Mandatory installation

DUI Penalties for Minors

For drivers under 21, the penalties for a DUI offense include:

  • Fines: $100 to $500
  • Community Service: 30 days
  • License Suspension: 90 days

Arrest and Booking

When a driver is suspected of DUI or DWI, the arresting officer will conduct field sobriety tests and a breathalyzer test. If the driver fails these tests, they will be arrested and taken to a police station for booking.

Arraignment

The arraignment is the first court appearance where the defendant is formally charged. The defendant can plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest.

Pre-Trial Motions

Pre-trial motions may include requests to suppress evidence or dismiss the case. These motions are heard by a judge before the trial begins.

Trial

If the case goes to trial, both the prosecution and defense will present evidence and call witnesses. The judge or jury will then decide the defendant's guilt or innocence.

Sentencing

If the defendant is found guilty, the judge will impose a sentence based on the severity of the offense and the defendant's prior record.

Administrative Penalties

License Suspension

In addition to criminal penalties, DUI and DWI offenses carry administrative penalties, including license suspension. The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) handles these suspensions.

Arkansas DFA DUI/DWI Information

Ignition Interlock Device

For repeat offenders, the installation of an ignition interlock device is mandatory. This device requires the driver to pass a breathalyzer test before the vehicle can start.

Challenging the Traffic Stop

One common defense is to challenge the legality of the traffic stop. If the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle, the evidence obtained during the stop may be inadmissible.

Questioning the Accuracy of Tests

Another defense is to question the accuracy of the field sobriety tests or breathalyzer results. Factors such as medical conditions or improper calibration of the device can affect the results.

Procedural Errors

Procedural errors made by law enforcement during the arrest or booking process can also be grounds for dismissal. These errors may include failure to read Miranda rights or mishandling of evidence.

Resources for Affected Individuals

Individuals charged with DUI or DWI should seek legal assistance. Experienced attorneys can help navigate the legal process and build a strong defense.

Arkansas DWI / DUI Lawyers

Alcohol Education Programs

Participation in alcohol education programs is often a mandatory part of the sentencing. These programs aim to educate offenders about the dangers of impaired driving and help prevent future offenses.

Support Groups

Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) provide a community for individuals struggling with alcohol addiction. These groups offer support and resources for recovery.

Conclusion

DUI and DWI laws in Arkansas are stringent and carry severe penalties to deter impaired driving and protect public safety. Understanding these laws, the legal procedures, and available resources can help individuals navigate the complexities of DUI and DWI charges. For more information, refer to the official Arkansas Code and the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.

Arkansas Code Title 5, Subtitle 6, Chapter 65

Arkansas DFA DUI/DWI Information

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Von Wooding

Von Wooding

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