Arkansas's Drugged Driving Law

Learn about the laws and penalties for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) in Arkansas.

Arkansas’s drugged driving law is located at §5-65-103 of the Arkansas Code. It states that “it is unlawful and punishable as provided in this act for any person who is intoxicated to operate or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle.”

§ 6-65-102(b) explains that "Intoxicated" means influenced or affected by the ingestion (DUI), a controlled substance, any intoxicant, or any combination (DUI), a controlled substance, or an intoxicant, to such a degree that the driver's reactions, motor skills, and judgment are substantially altered and the driver, therefore, constitutes a clear and substantial danger of physical injury or death to himself and other motorists or pedestrians”

Arkansas is one of several states that use “incapacitation” as the standard for a drugged driving conviction. Incapacitation is more than impairment; it means that the driver is unable to drive safely. This creates a heavier burden for a prosecutor who must demonstrate not only that the driver was high, but that the driver was so high as to be unable to guarantee his or her safety.

What drugs are prohibited?

Arkansas’s drugged driving law is directed at the prohibition of controlled substances -- that is, any drug or chemical regulated by the government. A listing of controlled substances regulated by federal law are found at the Drug Enforcement Administration website. It’s not an acceptable defense in Arkansas to claim that the driver is legally entitled to use the controlled substance

What happens if a driver is convicted of drug impaired driving in Arkansas?

A driver arrested for drugged driving in Arkansas will be charged with driving under the influence and subject to DUI penalties. A conviction for drugged driving will be considered as a prior offense for purposes of calculating punishment regardless of whether a subsequent offense is due to alcohol or drugs. Read more about Arkansas’s DUI laws.

Do Arkansas drivers have to submit to drug testing?

Yes, there is an implied consent rule for blood and breath testing. The refusal to take the test can be admitted into evidence against the driver.

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