Underage DWI Laws and Penalties in Arkansas

The laws prohibiting alcohol consumption by motorists who are under 21 years old.

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.

Underage DUI Laws and What They Prohibit

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.

Penalties for Underage DWI Offenses

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:

  • First offense. A first underage DWI will result in a 90-day license suspension and a $100 to $500 fine. The underage motorist will also have to complete an alcohol and driving education course.
  • Second offense. A second underage DUI violation will result in a one-year license suspension, $200 to $1,000 in fines, and 30 days of public service. The underage motorist will also have to complete an alcohol and driving education course.
  • Third and subsequent offenses. A third or subsequent offense will result in driver's license revocation (though reinstatement is possible), $500 to $2,000 in fines, and at least 60 days of public service. As with first and second offenses, the driver must complete an alcohol and driving education course.

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.

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