First DUI Offense Penalties in Arkansas

Drinking and driving can have serious consequences and in Arkansas, alcohol-impaired driving incidents resulted in 143 fatalities in 2012. Though the fatality rate per 100,000 residents declined by more than 32 percent during the previous ten years, there were still nearly five fatalities for every 100,000 people residing in the state. Arkansas drivers should be aware of the penalties they may face for driving under the influence.

First Conviction DUI Penalties in Arkansas

When an Arkansas law enforcement official arrests an individual for DUI, the officer takes the driver license on the spot and issues a Notice of Suspension/Revocation of Driving Privilege. The notice includes instructions for requesting an administrative hearing, which must be done within seven days. At the hearing, the court determines whether the offender had blood-alcohol content of at least 0.08 percent, was driving intoxicated, or refused relevant testing.

If a first-time offender is found guilty, the driver license will be suspended for six months the individual will be required to pay a $150 fee and attend an alcohol treatment or education program before the license will be reinstated. Additional penalties could include fines ranging from $150 to $1,000, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, and jail time of 24 hours to one year. A DUI lawyer may be able to get the court to replace some or all jail time with community service.

Under the legal provision called Actual Control of a Vehicle, an individual can be arrested for DUI for simply appearing to have the ability and intent to drive the vehicle even without driving anywhere. Arkansas law does not permit the dismissal of a DUI charge prior to trial. The only way to dispose of the case is to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty at the hearing.

Underage DUI in Arkansas

In Arkansas, underage drinkers can be arrested for DUI if they have a blood-alcohol content of at least 0.02 percent. Underage drinkers may also be charged with soliciting alcohol and possession of false identification if the alcohol was purchased with a fake ID. Distributing alcohol to other passengers in the vehicle is among other potential criminal charges.

More than 9,200 people were arrested for driving under the influence in Arkansas in 2012 and 81 were younger than age 18. More than 69 percent of fatal alcohol-impaired crashes that year involved drivers with a 0.15 percent or higher blood-alcohol content. While drinking and driving remains an issue in Arkansas, drivers falsely charged with DUI are using DUI lawyers to help them fight the charge.

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