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Penalties


Arkansas, like most states, has rather harsh and unforgiving DWI & DUI laws and penalties.  The following is a breakdown of the various drunk driving offenses in Arkansas in terms of "Jail and Fines" & "Driver's License Suspensions/Revocations":


Jail and Fines

DWI 

Ark. Code Ann. § 5-65-101, et seq.

Based on number of DWI's within 5 years of 1st offense

DWI - 1st Offense:  1 day to 1 year in jail.  $150 to $1,000.  Unspecified amount of community service possible in lieu of jail.

DWI - 2nd Offense:  7 days to 1 year in jail.  $400 to $3,000.  30 days minimum of community service possible in lieu of jail.1

DWI - 3rd Offense:  90 days to 1 year in jail.  $900 to $5,000.  90 days minimum of community service possible in lieu of jail.

DWI - 4th Offense (felony):  1 year to 6 years in prison.  $900 to $5,000.  Community service as an alternative to jail is NOT possible.

DWI - 5th Offense or above (felony):  2 years to 10 years in prison.  $900 to $5,000.  Community service as an alternative to jail is NOT possible.

 

DWI - While Driving a Commercial Vehicle

Ark. Code Ann. § 27-23-101, et seq.2

DWI - 1st Offense or above:  Up to 90 days in jail.  Up to $500.

 

DUI

Ark. Code Ann. § 5-65-301, et seq.

Based on number of DUI's AND DWI's within 5 years of 1st offense

DUI - 1st Offense:  No jail.  $100 to $500.  No mandatory minimum days of community service - at Judge's discretion.

DUI - 2nd Offense:  No jail.  $200 to $1,000.  Mandatory 30 days minimum of community service.

DUI - 3rd Offense or above:  No jail.  $500 to $2,000.  Mandatory 60 days minimum of community service.

 

BWI (Boating While Intoxicated) (21 or older)3 

Based on number of BWI's (21 or older) within 3 years of 1st offense

BWI (21 or older) - 1st Offense:  Up to 1 year in jail.  $250 to $1,000.

BWI (21 or older) - 2nd Offense:  2 days to 1 year in jail.  $500 to $2,500.  20 days minimum of community service possible in lieu of jail.

BWI (21 or older) - 3rd Offense or above:  60 days to 1 year in jail.  $1,000 to $5,000. 

 

BWI (under 21) 

Based on number of BWI's, regardless of age, with no limitation on look-back period

BWI (under 21) - 1st Offense:  No jail.  $100 to $500. 

BWI (under 21) - 2nd Offense:  No jail.  $200 to $1,000.

BWI (under 21) - 3rd Offense or above:  No jail.  $500 to $2,000.

 

Refusal to Submit to Chemical Test

Regardless of number of offenses

Refusal (regardless of age of person or whether non-CDL or CDL holder):  No jail.  No fines. 

Refusal (BWI - 21 or older):  No jail.  $1,000 to $2,500.

Refusal (BWI - under 21):  Not illegal.

 


NON-COMMERCIAL Driver's License Suspension/Revocation 

(Applies to offenses occurring on or after July 31, 2009)

 

DWI4,5

Based on number of DWI's, Refusals (BWI only) - occurring on or after 7/31/2007, or BWI's within 5 years of 1st offense

DWI - 1st Offense:  6 month suspension.  DWI (alcohol) - Interlock License allowed immediately.  DWI (drugs) - Restricted Permit allowed.6

DWI - 2nd Offense:  2 year suspension.  Interlock License allowed immediately.

DWI - 3rd Offense:  30 month suspension.  Interlock License allowed immediately.

DWI - 4th Offense or above:  4 year revocation.  Interlock License NOT allowed.

 

DUI 

Based on number of DUI's AND DWI's within 5 years of 1st offense

DUI - 1st Offense:  90 day suspension.  Interlock License NOT allowed.  Restricted Permit allowed.

DUI - 2nd Offense:  1 year suspension.  Interlock License NOT allowed.  Restricted Permit NOT allowed. 

DUI - 3rd Offense or above:  Revoked until 21 or 3 years, whichever is longer.  Interlock License NOT allowed.  Restricted Permit NOT allowed.

 

BWI (Boating While Intoxicated)

Based on number of BWI's within 3 years of 1st offense

BWI - 1st Offense:  90 day prohibition from operating a motorboat.

BWI - 2nd Offense:  1 year prohibition from operating a motorboat.

BWI - 3rd Offense or above:  3 year prohibition from operating a motorboat.

 

Refusal to Submit to Chemical Test

Based on number of Refusals - includes all Refusals, regardless of age of person or whether a Refusal (BWI) - within 5 years of 1st offense

Refusal (21 or older) - 1st Offense:  180 day suspension.  Interlock License allowed immediately.

Refusal (21 or older) - 2nd Offense:  2 year suspension.  Interlock License NOT allowed.

Refusal (21 or older) - 3rd Offense:  3 year suspension.  Interlock License NOT allowed.

Refusal (21 or older) - 4th Offense:  Lifetime revocation.  Interlock License NOT allowed.

Refusal (under 21) - 1st Offense:  90 day suspension.  Interlock License allowed.

Refusal (under 21) - 2nd Offense:  1 year suspension.  Interlock License NOT allowed.

Refusal (under 21) - 3rd Offense:  Revoked until age 21 or 3 years, whichever is longer.  Interlock License NOT allowed.

Refusal (under 21) - 4th Offense:  Revoked until age 21 or 3 years, whichever is longer.  Interlock License NOT allowed.

Refusal (BWI - 21 or older) - regardless of number of offenses:  6 month prohibition from operating a motorboat, in addition to underlying suspension for BWI.

Refusal (BWI - under 21):  Not illegal.

 


COMMERCIAL Driver's License Suspension/Revocation

(Applies to offenses occurring on or after July 31, 2009)7

 

DWI / Refusal

DWI or Refusal (while driving a commercial vehicle) - 1st Offense:  1 year suspension of CDL. 

DWI or Refusal (while driving a commercial vehicle and transporting hazardous materials) - 1st Offense:  3 year suspension of CDL.

DWI or Refusal (while driving a commercial vehicle) - "2nd Offense"8:  Lifetime revocation of CDL.

 

Footnotes

1 Although community service is sometimes given for a DWI - 1st Offense, it is less likely that a judge or jury would allow community service in lieu of jail on a repeat-offense DWI.

2 A person charged with a DWI while driving a COMMERCIAL vehicle  can charged either under Ark. Code Ann. § 5-65-101, et seq., or § 27-23-101, et seq. (incidentally, a person charged with a DWI while dirivng a NON-commerical vehicle cannot be charged under § 27-23-101).  If convicted under § 5-65-101, et seq., the following Jail and Fines do NOT apply.  The following Jail and Fines only apply to the driver of a commerical vehicle who has been charged and convicted of a DWI under § 27-23-101, et seq.  Possible jail time and fines for persons convicted of a DWI under § 27-23-101, et seq.  are less severe than those for convictions under § 5-65-101, et seq.  As such, most prosecutors charge drivers under § 5-65-101, et seq., but it is possible to be charged under § 27-23-101.

3 Boating includes the operation or actual physical control of a "motorboat."

4 Note:  DWI (drugs) has the same license suspension periods as DWI (alcohol) with the exception that an Interlock License is NOT allowed for any DWI (drugs) charge, regardless of the number of prior DWI offenses.

5 The court can also impose an additional 1 year period AFTER the initial suspension period during which the driver can only operate a vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device.

6 A Restricted Permit allows travel only in the following situations:  1) To and from the person's place of employment, 2) In the course of the person's employment, 3) To and from school, 4) To and from an alcohol education program or alcoholism treatment program, and 5) To and from a hospital or clinic for medical treatment or care for an illness, disease, or other medical condition of the person or a family member. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-65-120(a)(2).

7 In contrast to the Jail and Fines faced by a CDL holder for a DWI conviction, the Driver's License suspension for a CDL holder is NOT affected by whether the prosecutor charges the CDL holder under Ark. Code Ann. 5-65-101,et seq. or 27-23-101, et seq.  The suspensions of a CDL listed below are more severe than those for non-CDL's.  Although a CDL holder may incur harsher penalties for his or her CDL, that person can still take advantage of the same relief, if any, that a non-CDL holder can enjoy for a non-CDL license.

8 A second offense can consist of any combination of a DWI or Refusal as long as each resulted from a separate incident.  For example, if a CDL holder has a prior Refusal conviction and a current charge of DWI, then the DWI qualifies as a second offense.  Although the DWI is a first for the CDL holder, it will count as a second offense and the CDL holder would lose his or her CDL for life.

 

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