Like all states, Arkansas prohibits driving while intoxicated (DWI). This prohibition makes it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or more. But drivers under the age of 21 years old are subject to tighter blood alcohol restrictions. This article explains when a driver can be charged with an underage DWI and what penalties he or she can face.
A driver who's younger than 21 years old that operates a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or with a BAC of .02% to .08% can be convicted of underage DWI. A conviction is an unclassified misdemeanor but will not be counted as a prior offense if the driver is convicted of a standard DWI in the future.
Of course, an underage driver who is caught driving with a BAC of .08% or more could instead face the penalties for a standard DWI.
An underage DWI conviction carries fines and license penalties but will not carry any jail time. A first, second, and subsequent offense will result in the following penalties:
Victim impact panel. The court can require offenders to attend a victim impact panel. Generally, these panels consist of presentations that explain the dangers of impaired driving, often by those who have lost loved ones.
Implied consent. A driver arrested for impaired driving or for underage DWI will usually be required to submit to a breathalyzer test. Refusal to submit to a lawfully requested test is a violation of the state's implied consent law will result in the same driver's license penalties, fines, and public service penalties as an underage DUI conviction.
Restricted licenses. A restricted license may be available to the driver depending on the number of prior offenses.