Arkansas police and state troopers are committed to keeping our state’s roads safe, which is why they strictly enforce DUI / DWI and traffic laws at all times. If you are pulled over for one of these offenses, your first instinct may be to pay your traffic ticket or plead guilty to a drunk driving offense. Acting on this instinct may cost you money, your driver’s license, jail time, or even your job.
Get the skilled legal advice you need promptly. We can provide an in-depth explanation of the likely consequences of your options so that you are well-informed before you act. We will use our substantial knowledge of court procedures and laws to defend your rights in Little Rock.
What Does A DWI Charge Mean?
According to Arkansas Code § 5-65-103, it is “unlawful and punishable as provided in this chapter for a person who is intoxicated to operate or be in actual physical control of a motorboat on the waters of this state or a motor vehicle.” When the statute says “intoxicated”, it does not just mean by alcohol. Intoxicated is defined as “influenced or affected by the ingestion of alcohol, a controlled substance, any intoxicant, or any combination of alcohol, a controlled substance, or an intoxicant, 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 or herself or another person.”
Do I Have To Blow Into The Breathalyzer?
Everyone that operates an automobile in Arkansas is deemed to have given consent for their urine, saliva, and/or blood to be tested for alcohol concentration. This is known as “implied consent”. There are procedures in place for this, and if the arresting officer does not follow the correct procedure — they may be violating your rights (even your constitutional rights) and your case could be dismissed. This is one of the many reasons you should retain counsel to fight your DWI or DUI charge.
Aside from non-judicial effects like job loss, and administrative effects like license suspension, the penalty ranges for a DWI / DUI in Arkansas are:
- Up to one year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines for a first offense of DWI / DUI
- Up to one year in jail and up to $3,000 in fines for a second offense of DWI / DUI within five years of the first offense
- Up to one year in jail and up to $5,000 in fines for a third offense of DWI / DUI within five years of the first offense
- Up to six years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines for a fourth offense of DWI / DUI within five years of the first offense
- Up to ten years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines for a fifth offense of DWI / DUI within five years of the first offense
In Arkansas, DWI stands for "Driving While Intoxicated" and refers to the offense of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Arkansas has strict laws regarding DWI, and a conviction can result in significant penalties, including fines, license suspension, and even jail time.
Under Arkansas law, a driver is considered to be legally intoxicated if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher. However, drivers under the age of 21 or who hold commercial driver's licenses are subject to stricter BAC limits. Additionally, a driver can still be charged with DWI even if their BAC is below the legal limit if their ability to operate a vehicle safely is impaired by drugs or alcohol.
If you are pulled over on suspicion of DWI in Arkansas, the police officer may ask you to perform field sobriety tests, such as standing on one leg or walking in a straight line. You may also be asked to take a breathalyzer test to measure your BAC. Refusing to take a breathalyzer test can result in an automatic suspension of your driver's license.
If you are charged with DWI in Arkansas, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you understand the charges you are facing and your legal options for defending yourself. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, your attorney may be able to argue that the evidence against you is insufficient or that your rights were violated during the arrest process. An attorney can also work to negotiate a plea bargain or fight for your rights in court to minimize the impact of a DWI conviction on your life.
In Arkansas, the penalties for a DWI conviction depend on several factors, including the offender's blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the number of prior offenses, and the presence of any aggravating circumstances. Generally, the penalties for a DWI in Arkansas can include:
- Fines: A first-time offender can face fines of up to $1,000, while repeat offenders can face fines of up to $5,000.
- Jail time: A first-time offender can face up to one year in jail, while repeat offenders can face up to ten years in prison.
- License suspension: A first-time offender's driver's license can be suspended for six months to one year, while repeat offenders can face longer suspensions or permanent revocation of their license.
- Ignition interlock device: In some cases, offenders may be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicle, which requires them to pass a breathalyzer test before starting the car.
- Community service: Offenders may be required to complete a certain number of hours of community service as part of their sentence.
- Alcohol or drug treatment: Offenders may be required to complete an alcohol or drug treatment program as a condition of their sentence.
In addition to these penalties, a DWI conviction in Arkansas can have other long-term consequences, such as increased insurance rates, difficulty finding employment, and damage to one's reputation. For these reasons, it is essential to take a DWI charge in Arkansas seriously and work with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you understand your legal rights and options for defending yourself.
Making smart choices can help you limit the impact these charges have on driving privileges, car insurance rates and your criminal record:
- In Arkansas, traffic violations can add points to your license, increasing the likelihood that your insurance rates will rise.
- You may also have to pay steep fines to resolve a traffic ticket or drunk driving charge.
- DWI convictions also carry penalties that could include license suspensions, revocations or permanent charges on your criminal record.
These are just a few of the unintended consequences you could face when you represent yourself in a driving-related matter. When you consult with me, we will study the events leading up to your arrest or your traffic ticket.
Maneuvering around the Arkansas court system by yourself could result in spending extra time in jail and higher fees.
If Arkansas law enforcement violated your rights or failed to follow appropriate procedures, we will take the steps necessary to protect your future and your driving privileges. There are many procedural safeguards that police must obey and failure to do so can result in your case being dismissed. We are the aggressive advocates you want by your side when you are facing a criminal charge or driving violation.
At Wesley Rhodes, Attorney at Law, we believe that our commitment to providing exceptional legal representation sets us apart from other law firms. Call us today at (501) 361-4459. Located in Little Rock, Arkansas.