Arkansas DWI: Refusal to Take a Blood, Breath or Urine Test

In Arkansas, if you get pulled over for a DWI and the officer asks you to take a blood, breath, or urine test, do you have to take one? What happens if you refuse?

Implied Consent

Arkansas law requires you to take a blood, breath, or urine test if you are arrested for a DWI. You may also be required to take a blood, breath or urine test for any offense arising from your operation a motor vehicle while intoxicated, or if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident. The purpose of the test is to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). The test (or tests, if the officer wants you to take more than one) must be given within four hours of when you were driving.

The officer who arrests you gets to choose which test you take, with one exception. If you object to a blood test, then you can have a breath or urine test instead.

You can have additional tests done by a medical professional of your choice, but you have to pay for them. Later, if a court finds you not guilty of a DWI, then the state will reimburse you for those extra costs. The officer must tell you about this option for additional tests. If he or she doesn’t, then evidence of the officer’s test will not be allowed in court. You can read Arkansas’s implied consent law in Arkansas Code Annotated 5-65-202. For more on getting additional tests and how evidence of the tests can be used, see Arkansas Code Annotated 5-65-204 and 206.

Refusing to Take the Test


1st  Offense

2nd Offense

3rd  Offense

Refusal to take test

6 month license revocation

2 year license revocation

3 year license revocation

If you are arrested and refuse to take the test, the officer should tell you that you will lose your license for at least 180 days. At that point, you could still take a test. If you don’t, however, the officer will take your license. In its place, he or she must give you a receipt that you can use as a temporary permit for 30 days and instructions on how to request a hearing. At the hearing, you can discuss whether you refused to take the test and whether you knew the consequences of a refusal. After the hearing, the suspension of your license will either be confirmed or rescinded. For more about this process see Arkansas Code Annotated 5-65-402.

If this is your first refusal, the suspension will last at least 180 days followed by an ignition interlock restricted license for six months. For a second refusal within five years, the suspension will last two years. For a third refusal, you face a three-year suspension. Your license will be suspended for the rest of your life if you have refused three or more times before. If you did not have a license in the first place, then the state will prevent you from getting one for six months for your first refusal or up to a year for your second or subsequent refusals.

You can find the penalties for refusal in the Arkansas Code Annotated 5-65-205.

In most situations, if you refuse to take a mandatory blood, breath, or urine test, you cannot be forced to do so. However, the state may administer the test if you are in an accident that causes a death, even if you are unconscious or dead. See Arkansas Code Annotated 5-65-208.

Should You Refuse to Take a Mandatory DWI Test in Arkansas?

It usually does not help you to refuse to take a blood, breath, or urine test when you are arrested for a DWI. In Arkansas, the consequences of refusal are milder than those for a DWI conviction, which include jail time and fines. Refusing the test, however, does not guarantee that you won’t be convicted. You can still be found guilty of a DWI even if your refusal means that the state does not have proof that your BAC was over .08%, the legal limit for those over 21. In fact, the prosecution can use your refusal against you by arguing that you refused the test because you knew that you were intoxicated and guilty of DWI.

(Check out our  blood alcohol content chart  for an estimate of how many drinks it takes to get to the legal limit.)

Get Help With Your DWI

If you have been arrested on a DWI charge in Arkansas or any other state, get help from an experienced DWI attorney. Unlike other traffic related charges, which might be worth fighting without a lawyer, conviction for a DWI has serious consequences – especially if the incident involved injury to people or property, or if it’s your second or subsequent DWI. To avoid or reduce the consequences, your best bet is to find an attorney who knowledgeable about your state’s laws and about how the system works in your county’s court.

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