FAQs About Arkansas DUI Laws
Impaired driving is one of the most common criminal charges in Arkansas, but it remains a serious legal event that can have a substantial impact on your career, social life and relationships.
Drunk driving can also carry a heavy cost for the community and state as well individuals involved in an accident or DUI arrest. Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities account for more than 30 percent of total motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the US and cost an estimated $37 billion annually.
Arkansas legislators and law enforcement are doing what they can to curb drunk driving. In addition to increasing penalties for repeat offenses, a number of policies have been put in place to ensure a DUI charge is treated as seriously as it deserves. And, you may have a few questions about how Arkansas DUI laws work.
What is the Arkansas legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC)?
You can be charged with DUI/DWI in Arkansas if you have a BAC of 0.08% or higher. The limit drops to 0.02% for minors.
What’s the difference between DUI, DWI and OWI?
Drunk driving is most often referred to as DUI (Driving Under the Influence), though you may also hear it mentioned as DWI (Driving While Intoxicated), OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) or OUI (Operating Under the Influence). In each case, you are referring to the act of drunk driving.
Is DUI a felony? What are the penalties for drunk driving?
In Arkansas, DUI is typically considered a misdemeanor. If this is your fourth DUI charge or higher, however, DUI/DWI is considered a felony and you may face significantly more jail time or community service, in addition to having your license suspended or revoked for anywhere from four years to life.
How will a DUI/DWI affect my driving privileges?
Keeping up with personal and professional responsibilities on a suspended license can be challenging. When you are first arrested for drunk driving, your license will be suspended for a period of 6 months. If this isn’t your first DUI in the past 60 months, however, you may find yourself with a suspended license for 2 years or longer.
While you can’t avoid many drunk driving penalties, a drunk driving lawyer can help minimize the impact of a DUI/DWI charge.
How long will a DUI stay on my record?
For sentencing purposes, a DUI charge stays on your record for five years. But, up to 92 percent of employers conduct background checks, and a DUI arrest can make it hard to stand out during the hiring process.
Why can I be penalized for refusing to take a breathalyzer or chemical test?
When you operate a motor vehicle in Arkansas, you agree to submit to a chemical test under Arkansas’ Implied Consent law. The penalties an individual faces when he or she refuses to take a blood alcohol test or other chemical assessment are for violating the Implied Consent statute.
Will I receive a lighter penalty if I refuse to take a breathalyzer or chemical test?
While the consequences for refusing to take a test in Arkansas may be milder than a DUI conviction in certain instances, refusal to take a test doesn’t mean you won’t be convicted of driving under the influence. Lacking physical evidence, prosecutors may use your refusal as a way to suggest that you knew you were intoxicated and were trying to avoid an arrest.
Is it worth the cost to hire a DUI attorney? Can I do this myself?
Being arrested for drunk driving is a serious legal event. The fines and penalties you face can be severe, particularly if you were involved in a drunk driving accident where a person was injured or property was damaged. There are a variety of time-sensitive steps you need to take immediately after a DUI charge to avoid increased penalties. An experienced DWI lawyer can ensure you meet all legal requirements so you can recover from the charge as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Defending Against a DUI
If you depend on your vehicle for work, a suspended license can mean the difference between a steady paycheck and a long search for a new job. You may spend hours each day taking public transportation, making it hard to keep up with personal and professional obligations.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence in the state of Arkansas, you may wish to speak with an experienced DUI/DWI attorney.