Arkansas DUI Laws
In Arkansas, a driver can be arrested for DUI for driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or greater. However, this charge may be reduced or dismissed if the prosecution states reasons for reduction or dismissal and files such reasoning with the court. In terms of when an officer can make an arrest, they can do so if they have a valid warrant. Without such a warrant, the officer may still make an arrest if he has “reasonable cause” to think that the person involved has violated the DUI statute, §5-65-202(3). If the officer believes that such a violation occurred prior to or immediately before the accident, then the officer has probable cause to make the arrest.
There are many specific examples of behavior that police use in order to make determinations about the likelihood of a DUI. They will look for unusual or reckless driving, the defendant’s conduct and physical appearance, the way a defendant responds to a field sobriety test, and any tapes or film available from the incident. There are also many common symptoms police use to determine if a person is driving drunk. If the driver’s clothes are unkempt, if he has bloodshot or red eyes, if he has a flushed face or red skin, if he smells of alcohol, and if speech is slurred are all prime evidence police will use in their determination of a driver’s abuse of alcohol.
According to §5-65-103, the charge of a DUI is based on the blood alcohol content (BAC) of the driver of the vehicle. This section states the following:
5-65-103. Unlawful acts.
(a) It is unlawful and punishable as provided in this act for any person who is intoxicated to operate or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle.
(b) It is unlawful and punishable as provided in this act for any person to operate or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle if at that time the alcohol concentration in the person’s breath or blood was eight-hundredths (0.08) or more based upon the definition of breath, blood, and urine concentration in § 5-65-204.
Thus in Arkansas, a driver can be arrested for DUI for driving with a BAC of 0.08 or greater. However, this number will vary depending on the circumstances, for example if the driver is operating a commercial vehicle or if the driver is under legal drinking age of 21. In Arkansas, the BAC of “zero tolerance” for minors (meaning the legal limit for underage drivers) is 0.02, thus any minor found driving with a BAC above this amount will be subject to penalties. Additionally, harsher penalties are handed out to those with extremely high BAC levels on arrest. This “enhanced penalty” amount can lead to more hefty fines and jail time, and is invoked in Arkansas when the driver’s BAC is at or above 0.18.
If a driver is found to have a BAC of 0.04 or below, Arkansas law presumes that the driver was not under the influence of alcohol, and no charges typically will be filed. If the driver’s BAC is between 0.04 and 0.08, this does not automatically mean the driver is guilty of a DUI, but the court will consider other evidence in the inquiry as to whether to convict the driver or not.
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