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DUI Laws in Arkansas


If you are arrested for DUI in Arkansas, you can be convicted for two reasons. One of the reasons is driving while being impaired due to intake of alcohol or drugs which is known as `common law’ DUI offense. You will have to undergo a field sobriety test and if it is proven that your blood alcohol level is above the legal limit then you will be convicted. Another reason for which you can be charged in Arkansas for DUI is per se law where you will be convicted if your blood alcohol level is 0.8% or higher while driving a vehicle.

Field Sobriety Test (FST) after drunk driving offense

If you are suspected to be drunken driving a vehicle and are asked to stop driving, you will have to undergo field sobriety tests. This will include blood, urine tests as well as your driving pattern. If you do not adhere to the rules and refuse to undergo any of the tests, then your license will be suspended and this information can be used to convict you in the court.

If arrested, the DUI laws in Arkansas will initiate two cases, criminal case as well as a case by the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration Office of Motor Vehicles. You should request for an administrative hearing as it will help you in retain your license after being convicted. However, if you are unable to get an administrative hearing within the stipulated seven days of your arrest, then your license will be suspended automatically. A DUI attorney can help you in this.

In Arkansas, you would be considered to be legally drunk if you fall in any of the following categories:

    • You are a non-commercial vehicle driver with an age of 21 or more and have a blood alcohol level of .08 or more.
    • You are a commercial vehicle driver and have a blood alcohol level of.04 percent or greater. This includes a school bus driver according to the Arkansas DUI laws.
    • You are under 21 years and driving under the influence of alcohol or drug and your blood alcohol level is .02 or more.

Penalties for a DUI in Arkansas

If it is your first DUI offense in Arkansas, then the penalties are not very severe. However, you will have to face harsher penalties for subsequent offenses. First time offense will lead to certain consequences like:

  • Jail time of 1 day to 1 year
  • Public service instead of jail time
  • Fine of about $150 to $1000
  • Court costs of $300
  • Possible ignition interlock device
  • Alcohol education program
  • Alcohol treatment program

As part of the penalties, Arkansas DUI offense also leads to your license being suspended for a specific duration. This suspension of license is decided during the administrative hearing and the duration is dependent on the number of DUI offenses

  • First offenders – 120 days
  • Second offenders – 2 years
  • Third offenders – 30 months
  • Fourth offenders – 4 years

You can request for a restricted license which can give you permission to drive to and from your workplace. However, if you refuse to undergo a BAC test, then the license will be suspended for an even longer duration. Apart from these penalties you will also face insurance consequences where your insurance company might stop your auto insurance or increase the cost of your insurance multifold. This is a vicious circle, as you need to have insurance if you want to get your license back so it is important that you get insurance at the earliest.

DALA Staff Writer
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