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DUI Penalties in Arkansas

The penalties for types of offenses in Arkansas vary greatly depending on the number of offenses the driver has committed in the past, and can include fines, jail time, and licenses suspensions.  A driver convicted of driving under the influence for the first time can face jail time of anywhere from one day to a maximum of one year.  The court may also substitute public service requirements in place of a jail sentence.  In addition, first time offenders will be fined a minimum of $150 but not more than $1,000.  In terms of license suspension, the driver will lose his license for 120 days if his BAC was 0.15% or less.  Higher levels of inebriation invoke the state’s enhanced penalty provisions and carry even longer potential suspensions, 180 days for a first time offender.  The same enhanced penalty exists if the driver refuses to submit to a chemical test of their bodily substances.

A second conviction will lead to the driver spending a minimum of one week in jail and a maximum of one year in jail if the offense occurred within five to ten years of the previous offense.  The fine for such a violation is $400 if the offense happened more than 10 years since the previous one.  If the second offense was within 10 years of the first, then the fine can be increased up to $3,000.  The driver’s license will be suspended for two years if the offense was within 10 years of the prior offense.

A driver convicted for a third time of driving under the influence within 10 years of a previous conviction for DWI will go to jail for a minimum of three months, and a maximum of one year.  The court may also use its discretion to order community service as opposed to jail time.  The fine for such an offense can be anywhere between $900-$5,000.  This wide range of fines accounts for the various circumstances surrounding different convictions and the range of culpability of the driver.  A third conviction will also lead to the driver’s license being suspended for three months if the offense was within 10 years of a previous on, though again the court may use its discretion to allow the driver a restricted license in certain situations, such as driving for work purposes.

A fourth or subsequent conviction for driving under the influence in Arkansas is considered a felony conviction and carries a jail sentence of anywhere between one and six years.  The court may, at its discretion, substitute any jail time for a minimum of one year of community service.  The fine for a fourth conviction is anywhere between $900-$5000 if the offense occurred within 10 years of a previous offense.  The more recent the previous offenses were, the higher the subsequent fines are likely to be.  In addition to these penalties, the driver’s license will be suspended for four years with no ability to retain a restricted license.  This means that the convict’s livelihood could be in jeopardy if they are no longer able to work because they cannot operate a vehicle.  If a driver is pulled over with three or more convictions for DWI and refuses to submit to a chemical test of urine or blood at anytime within 10 years of a previous conviction, the driver will lose his license for life in the state of Arkansas.  The court may also seize control of the driver’s vehicle upon a fourth conviction for driving drunk.

It is important to remember that these penalties vary based on not only the number of offenses committed but also in terms of the specific behavior of the driver.  In addition, the above offenses also carry additional penalties for non-compliance that are discussed below.  Such penalties include mandatory alcohol treatment programs for all convictions of driving under the influence.

As noted above in the summary of DUI laws, the penalties for a conviction can vary depending on how many previous felonies the defendant has committed or been charged with.  Specifically, the charge could either be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the number of other offenses committed by the defendant as well as the seriousness of the charges and the level of risk associated with them in terms of public health and benefit.

Among the various penalties in Arkansas for such a violation include fines as well as prison sentences (both short and long term) and suspension of driving rights, often for a period of months or years.  Even after committing multiple offenses, drivers have the ability to apply for limited privilege licenses in order to drive for necessity, such as to school or work.  However, unlike many other states, Arkansas forces the driver to serve minimal jail time as a requirement for a single DWI conviction in the state.

In addition to the penalties prescribed by the court system, there are additional bridges to cross in Arkansas to acquire the privilege of driving once again.  When a defendant is convicted of driving under the influence, the state DMV requires he show proof of financial responsibility in the form of an Arkansas SR22 insurance policy meeting the minimum requirements of the state in terms of auto insurance for a period of three years.  A fee must also be paid to the DMV.


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