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Drunk Driving Defense Laws in Arkansas

The drunk driving laws in Arkansas can impose severe penalties on drivers. The impaired driving laws are different in every state, including jail time, fines, and license suspension periods. Understanding how your state handles drunk driving can help you understand your rights and find a knowledgeable Arkansas DUI defense attorney to resolve your case.

Arkansas Drunk Driving Laws

Arkansas law classifies the offense of operating under the influence (OUI) as a person who operates a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08% and a BAC of .04% for commercial drivers, and a .02% for drivers under 21 years of age.

Implied Consent: Yes

Enhanced Penalties: .15% Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)or more; child endangerment; child under the age of 16 in the car; prior conviction.

  • The first offense in Arkansas is an unclassified misdemeanor. It comes with penalties of not less than 24 hours but no more than one year of imprisonment, but community service can be issued in place of a prison sentence if the court finds mitigating factors. It also comes with $150 to $1,000 in fines and a six-month license suspension.
  • second offense is an unclassified misdemeanor. It comes with penalties of seven days to one year of imprisonment, but community service can be issued in place of a prison sentence. It also comes with $400 to $3,000 in fines and a 24-month license suspension.
  • third offense is still a misdemeanor, but the penalties rise to 90 days to one year of imprisonment. A judge can still issue community service in place of a prison sentence. Additional penalties are $900 to $5,000 in fines and a 30-month license suspension.
  • fourth offense is a felony with penalties of one to six years in prison, $900 to $5,000 in fines, and a four-year license revocation.

Drivers may have to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed, get an alcohol evaluation, enter an alcohol education or treatment program, and attend a victim impact panel. All of the above penalties are increased if any enhancements exist such as having a child under the age of 16 in the car at the time you were driving under the influence.

DUI Defense in Arkansas

Anyone charged with an OUI in Arkansas has the right to a legal defense against the criminal charges. A lawyer experienced in driving under the influence cases understands how to point out the weaknesses in the case to convince the prosecutor to give you a beneficial plea bargain or defend you in court.

Arkansas has a unique law that doesn’t allow the prosecutor to reduce the charges from a DUI to reckless driving. It can be important to hire a lawyer with trial experience who can get positive results by knowing what evidentiary and trial motions to litigate to get the best results.

The best strategy for each case involves knowing how to apply Arkansas drunk driving laws to each particular case. There are many possible defenses, including that the officer did not have a valid basis for the stop supported by reasonable suspicion to believe that the driver committed a traffic violation. Another defense may be that the officer did not have probable cause that the driver was intoxicated or the officer did not follow the proper procedure when processing the chemical test.

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