Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is against the law in the state of Arkansas. The Arkansas DUI laws were designed to protect people using the roadways from injury and death due to the actions of drunk drivers. These laws can seem complex to someone who doesn’t have a legal education because they have different offense levels and different penalties depending on a number of factors in each individual case. Because these laws are so complex, it is extremely important that you contact an Arkansas DUI lawyer if you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated. Having a legal professional represent you is your best chance for presenting the best defense during your trial and can give you a better chance of winning than if you represented yourself.
Driving While Intoxicated
There are two ways that a person can be prosecuted for driving while intoxicated in the state of Arkansas. One of these ways is based on the impairment of the driver after consuming alcohol. With this type of prosecution, the case is built around the driver being too impaired to operate a motor vehicle. Driving habits, failure to perform sobriety tests successfully, the physical appearance of the defendant, and the smell of alcohol on the defendant may all be taken into consideration in this type of DWI case. The prosecutor does not have to prove any particular blood alcohol concentration level. The second type of DUI case is based on chemical testing, not on driver habits or behavior. In this type of DUI case, the defendant had a blood alcohol concentration level of greater than the legal limit of 0.08%. Whether the defendant was actually impaired is not relevant in this type of case. The prosecutor simply has to prove that the legal blood alcohol level was exceeded. Both types of cases have serious legal and administrative consequences so it is important that you contact an Arkansas DUI lawyer immediately so you have someone to guide you through the legal system and defend you both in court and at any Department of Motor Vehicles proceedings.
Arkansas DMV Penalties
Being charged with DUI means that you will have to deal with the Department of Motor Vehicles. The DMV can impose administrative punishments on you as a result of your DUI charge. Because experience can make these proceedings go more smoothly, it is important that you contact an Arkansas DUI attorney immediately after your arrest so you can be represented in both your criminal trial and any DMV proceedings against you. The penalties imposed by the DMV vary based on any prior offenses as well as your blood alcohol concentration level. For a first offense with alcohol, the penalty is a 120 day license suspension as long as your blood alcohol level was less than 0.18%. You may be able to get a restricted license that allows you to commute to and from work, but an Arkansas DUI lawyer would be your best source of information and advice. For a first offense with drugs, the penalty is a six-month license suspension. Refusal to submit to a chemical test results in a 180 day suspension, regardless of whether you committed a DUI offense or not. The administrative penalties for a second offense are a two year suspension with the possibility of receiving a restricted work permit after one year of the suspension. The penalty for a second chemical testing refusal is a two year suspension with no possibility of obtaining a restricted license. A third offense results in a suspension period of 30 months with no possibility of a restricted license for at least one year. A third refusal to submit to chemical testing results in a three year suspension with no option of receiving a restricted work license. Fourth and subsequent offenses result in a four year revocation of the driver’s license for DWI. For refusal to submit to chemical testing, a fourth offense results in the lifetime revocation of your license. There are no exceptions to this penalty. It is important that you have an Arkansas DUI lawyer represent you in DMV proceedings because the information gathered may help you in your trial. If you have refused to submit to chemical testing, it can also help to have your attorney refute the prosecutor’s claim that your refusal indicates guilt on your part.
Arkansas Criminal DUI Penalties
If you are charged with driving while intoxicated, you will not only face criminal charges, you will also face losing your license through the DMV. The criminal proceedings remain separate from the DMV proceedings and any penalties imposed by the court are separate from penalties imposed by the DMV. The criminal penalties vary with the severity of the offense, the number of prior DUI convictions, and other circumstances. Enhancements to these penalties can be made in specific situations. For a first DUI offense, you can face one day up to one year in jail, court costs of $300, and fines from $150-$1,000. The courts may use community service as an alternative to jail time for a first offense. A second DUI offense can result in 7 days to one year in jail, a fine of no less than $400 all the way up to $3,000, and $300 in court costs. The court may choose to replace jail time with a period of no less than 30 days of community service. If you have two prior convictions and are convicted a third time, you face 90 days to one year in jail and fines of no less than $900 and no more than $5,000. The court may choose to replace jail time with no less than 90 days of community service. If you have three prior convictions, a fourth DUI will be prosecuted as a felony, making the punishments more severe. You can face anywhere from one to six years of jail time and fines of no less than $900 and no more than $5,000. The court may substitute one year of community service for jail time if it is warranted. A fifth DUI charge is also prosecuted as a felony if you have four prior convictions, as are any subsequent offenses. You can face anywhere from two to ten years in a state penitentiary and fines of no less than $900 and no more than $5,000. The court may choose to impose two years of community service as an alternative to jail time.