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Underage Drunk Driving in Arkansas

50 states view a BAC of 0.08 or greater as “per se” evidence of intoxication, meaning that the police need no evidence other than a BAC at this level to induce a driver’s culpability.  In other words, the police do not need any additional evidence to prove a driver’s intoxication if they show the driver had a BAC of 0.08 or greater.  This threshold is much lower when considering drivers under the legal drinking age of 21, however.  All states also follow “zero tolerance” BAC laws, meaning minors are culpable if they are found driving with any alcohol in their systems, or at least trace amounts of alcohol in some states.

In Arkansas the zero tolerance BAC level for minors is 0.02, meaning any minor found to have a BAC of 0.02 or greater while driving will be arrested for violation of this law.  However, if evidence shows a minor has a BAC of between 0.04 and 0.08, the minor may be prosecuted as though he were of the age of majority in Arkansas.  There are several potential penalties for a minor found guilty under the zero tolerance law in the state.  First time offenders are fined anywhere between $100-$500.  They also must perform community service work as prescribed by the judge, in addition to a license suspension for a period of 90 days.  A second offense leads to a fine between $200-$1,000 in addition to public service work for at least 30 days.  The driver’s license will be suspended for a period of one year.  A third or subsequent violation will result in a fine of anywhere between $500-$2,000 and a mandatory community service program of at least 60 days.  The driver’s license will be suspended for three years or until the driver’s 21st birthday, whichever is longer.  In addition, any driver convicted of an underage DUI must complete alcohol and driving education programs, and potentially alcohol treatment programs as well.

It is important to remember that drugs other than alcohol also effect levels of inebriation and are also included in Arkansas’s zero tolerance law.  In addition to the 0.02 BAC threshold, any minor who has consumed marijuana or other controlled substances is also guilty of a misdemeanor for as long as there is physical evidence of the consumption in the driver’s body.

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