What to Expect if You Get a Second DWI/DUI in Arkansas

The criminal and administrative penalties for a second DUI/DWI conviction in Arkansas.

In Arkansas, a second DWI (also called "DUI") is a misdemeanor and typically carries jail time, fines, and license suspension. And these penalties are generally more severe for a second conviction than they are for a first offense.

This article explains the basis of Arkansas's DWI laws and the consequences of a second conviction.

Arkansas's DWI Law

Arkansas law prohibits all motorists from operating or being in actual physical control of a vehicle or motorboat while intoxicated or with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more. To be in "actual physical control" of a vehicle doesn't require that the car actually be in motion—the driver having the ability to exert control over the vehicle is enough for a conviction.

What Counts as a Second DWI in Arkansas

Arkansas looks at a person's criminal history for the last ten years to determine if a DWI is a first, second, or subsequent conviction (the lookback period is five years for license penalties).

If the driver has one prior DWI conviction within the last ten years, a new charge qualifies as a second offense. DWI offenses in Arkansas, as well as other states, count as prior convictions.

Penalties for a Second DWI Conviction in Arkansas

A second DWI conviction in Arkansas will typically result in jail time, fines, and possibly having to complete sort type of substance abuse treatment.

Jail Time for a 2nd DWI Conviction in Arkansas

A second-offense DWI carries at least seven days imprisonment with a maximum sentence of one year. The minimum jail time increases to 30 days if the driver had a passenger under 16 years old at the time of the offense. However, for "good cause," the court can order community service in lieu of jail time. If granted, the convicted motorist must perform 30 days of community service (60 days if there was a passenger under 16 years old in the car).

Fines for a 2nd Arkansas DWI Conviction

A person who's convicted of a second-offense DWI faces fines of $400 to $3,000. In addition to fines, drivers may be required to pay various fees and treatment costs.

Arkansas's Substance Abuse Treatment Requirements for DWI Offenders

Before sentencing, the convicted must complete a drug and alcohol evaluation with the Arkansas Department of Human Services. The judge reviews the screening report and may consider the report in determining the sentence.

License-Related Consequences of a Second DWI in Arkansas

At the time of the arrest, the officer seizes the driver's license and issues a temporary permit. After the expiration of the temporary permit, the driver's license is ordinarily suspended for 24 months if the driver has one prior DWI suspension or conviction within the past five years.

During the suspension period, the motorist may be able to get a restricted license. Depending on the situation, having an ignition interlock device might be a requirement of the restricted license.

Convicted motorists are also required to complete an alcohol education or treatment program provided by the Department of Human Services. Unless acquitted of the DWI in court, the driver must complete the required program to be eligible for license reinstatement.

Second Underage DWI in Arkansas

Underage motorists (those who are under the age of 21) can be convicted of an "underage DWI" for driving while under the influence of alcohol or an intoxicant or having a BAC of .02% or more (but under .08%).

An underage DWI carries a one-year license suspension, fines of $200 to $1,000, and 30 days of public service work. The motorists will also need to complete an accredited alcohol education program.

Talk to an Arkansas DWI Attorney

While you may be hoping to have the DWI charge diverted or dismissed, Arkansas strictly prohibits the dismissal or "pleading down" of a DWI charge. The court is also barred from deferring the sentence via probation but can order probationary supervision in addition to other required penalties. Because of the severe consequences of a DWI in Arkansas, it is always best to talk to a qualified DWI attorney about your options.

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