DWI Laws in Arkansas

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Summary of Arkansas Impaired Driving Statutes.

COMMON ACRONYM(S) USED TO DESCRIBE “DRUNK DRIVING”:

  • DWI refers to any person who is intoxicated or who is driving with a blood/ breath alcohol concentration of .08 or above
  • DUI describes an underaged driver (any person under 21) who isinfluenced by alcohol or similar intoxicant or who has a blood/breath alcohol concentration of .02 but less than .08.

PROHIBITED VEHICULAR ACTIVITY:

  • “to operate or be in actual physical control”.

COVERED VEHICLES OR DEVICES:

  • ”any “motor vehicle” – including but not limited to golf carts, riding lawn mowers, and ATVs.

COVERED LOCATIONS:

  • Anywhere in the state – including private parking lots, off-road trails, and other areas where a driver’s license is not required.

DEGREE OF IMPAIRMENT REQUIRED FOR CONVICTION OF DRIVING WHILE “INTOXICATED”:

Impairment “to such a degree that the driver’s reactions, motor skills, and judgment are substantially altered, and the driver, therefore, constitutes a clear and substantial danger of physical injury or death to himself and other motorists or pedestrians.” See Ark. Code Anno. § 5-65-102(1).

BAC/BrAC (BLOOD OR BREATH ALCOHOL CONCENTRATION) REQUIRED FOR CONVICTION OF DWI ( EVEN IF NOT INTOXICATED) – PER SE OFFENSE:

Eight grams or more of alcohol per 100 cubic centimeters of blood or 210 liters of breath (.08 or more).

PENALTIES FOR DWI:

  • For first offense: 24-hour to 1-year jail sentence (Public service may be ordered in lieu of jail.); $150 to $1,000 fine, plus $300 court cost; six months license suspension beginning one month following date of arrest, during which time an ignition interlock restricted license is available if there was no refusal to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test following arrest. A restricted driving permit is available during suspension if intoxicated by a controlled substance. The license suspension is set aside if found not guilty. Increased penalty if there is a passenger under 16 years of .age.
  • (2) For second offense within 5-year period: 7-day to 1-year jail sentence (Public service may be ordered in lieu of jail.); $400 to $3,000 fine; 24-month license suspension. The ignition interlock restricted license is available immediately. A work permit is available with the restricted interlock license. Increased penalties if there is a passenger under 16 years of age.
  • For third offense within 5-year period: 90-day to 1-year jail sentence (Public service may be ordered in lieu of jail.); $900 to $5,000 fine; 30-month license suspension. The ignition interlock restricted license is not available for first 45 days of suspension. A work permit is available with the restricted interlock license. Increased penalty if there is a passenger under 16.
  • For fourth offense within 5-year period (a felony): 1-year to 6-year prison term (Public service may be ordered in lieu of jail.); $900 to $5,000 fine; 4-year license revocation (with no restricted permits); forfeiture of vehicle if within a 3-year period. Increased minimum penalty if there is a passenger under 16 years of age. No restricted permits.
  • For fifth or subsequent offense within 5-year period (a felony): 2-year to 10-year prison term (Public service may be ordered in lieu of jail.); $900 to $5,000 fine; 4-year license revocation (with no restricted permits); forfeiture of vehicle if fourth offense within a 3-year period. Increased minimum penalty if there is a passenger under 16 years of age. No restricted permits.

EXPUNGEMENT:

Misdemeanor conviction for DWI (1st, 2nd, or 3rd offense) may be expunged after five years following completion of sentence. (Effective July 27, 2011)”

IMPLIED CONSENT LAWS:

[Ark. Code Anno. §§ 5-65-202, et seq.]

  • Tests Permitted: Blood, breath or urine test as determined by law enforcement agency, except that blood test requires consent. Urine test not to be used unless others unavailable.
  • Type of advisement required: Right to additional test at own expense. The officer must advise you of this right in writing and assist you in obtaining such a test and the fact that law enforcement will reimburse you for the cost of the additional test if you are found not guilty.
  • Penalties for refusal: $100 fine and driver’s license suspension for 180 days for the first offense; ignition interlock restricted license is available if arrested for alcohol consumption but not for controlled substance; suspension for two years for 2nd offense within 5 years; revocation for three years for 3rd offense within 5 years; no restricted permit available; lifetime revocation for the 4thoffense within 5 years.
  • Admissibility of refusal: Admissible in DWI/DUI case to prove consciousness of guilt. See Spicer v. State, 32 Ark. App. 209, 799 S.W. 2d 562 (1990).

DEGREE OF IMPAIRMENT REQUIRED FOR CONVICTION OF DUI:

[Ark. Code Anno. § 5-65-302(1)]“controlled or affected . . . to such a degree that the driver’s reactions, motor skills, and judgment are altered or diminished, even to the slightest degree,” and he or she, therefore, “constitutes a danger of physical injury or death to himself or herself and other motorists or pedestrians.” [Ark. Code Anno. § 5-65-302(1)]“controlled or affected . . . to such a degree that the driver’s reactions, motor skills, and judgment are altered or diminished, even to the slightest degree,” and he or she, therefore, “constitutes a danger of physical injury or death to himself or herself and other motorists or pedestrians.”

PENALTIES FOR DUI:

  • For first offense: $100 to $500 fine and community service; 90 day driver’s license suspension; For refusal of test: $100 to $500 fine and 90 day driver’s license suspension.
  • For second offense: $200 to $1000 fine and 30 days minimum community service; one year driver’s license suspension; For refusal of test: $200 to $1000 fine and one year driver’s license suspension.
  • For third offense: $500 to $2000 fine and 60 days minimum community service; revocation of driver’s license for 3 years or until age of 21, whichever is longer; For refusal of test: $500 to $2000 fine and revocation of driver’s license for 3 years or until age of 21, whichever is longer.

STATUTORY DRINKING-DRIVING PRESUMPTIONS:

[Ark. Code Anno. § 5-65-206(a)]

  • BAC of .04 percent or less – The person is presumed not under the influence of intoxicating liquor.
  • BAC of more that .04 percent but less than .08 percent – No presumption but admissible evidence.

CHEMICAL TEST LAWS:

[Ark. Code Anno. §§ 5-65-204, 206, 207]

  • General provisions: Chemical test must be performed by a person having a valid permit and in accordance with methods approved by the State Board of Health and the State Department of Health. Breath test must be performed on a machine or instrument that is constructed so that the breath analysis is made and displayed automatically, without adjustment by the operator. The Intoximeter machine is in use in Arkansas.
  • Administrative rules & regulations: Adopted by Department of Health and Board of Health.
  • Disclosure of test information: Full information must be provided to person tested or attorney upon request.

INDEPENDENT TEST STATUTE:

The person tested may have a physician or other qualified person of his or her choice administer a chemical test in addition to the police test. The law enforcement officer must advise the person of this right in writing, and a failure to do so or to permit and assist the person in obtaining such a test, precludes the admission into evidence of the police test. See Ark. Code Anno. § 5-65-204(e).

PLEA BARGAINING STATUTE:A person arrested for DWI (Ark. Code Anno. § 5-65-103) must be tried on such charges, and the charges may not be reduced. See Ark. Code Anno. § 5-65-107.

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