Information on Ignition Interlock Devices on the Land of Opportunity
The Ignition Interlock regulations and laws regarding a DUI or DWI offense charge for the state of Arkansas are the same across all cities in the state including Little Rock, Hot Springs, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Bentonville, Conway, Jonesboro, and North Little Rock. Across the state, drivers with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more are considered to be impaired and will be charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI). The threshold of 0.08 percent for BAC is based on government testing that proved that all individuals’ ability to drive is impaired when their BAC is 0.08 or higher.
Should a driver be charged and subsequently convicted of DUI in the state of Arkansas, they will face a number of different penalties as punishment for their even a 1st time offense. The penalties for DUI charges in this state include a jail sentence, a license suspension, monetary fines, and possibly having to install and use an Ignition Interlock Device (IID). This variety of penalties is used by the state as a means to discourage those convicted of DUI from committing second or repeat offense again. Following DUI arrests, most drivers are understandably curious with common questions such as “will my driver’s license be suspended, and am I now required to get an Ignition Interlock installed?” It is important that any driver fighting and DUI charge realizes, that the only possible way to avoid and prevent the expensive cost of the Ignition Interlock requirement and other penalties under the new AR laws, is to get the essential legal help in time that can avoid a conviction or drop the charges.
What Are the Penalties for Driving Under the Influence in Arkansas?
Just as there are a variety of different penalties associated with DUI in the state of Arkansas, it is also important to note that the severity of these punishments increase with the number of previous DUI convictions individuals have. First time DUI offenders face the least harsh penalties, which include between 24 hours and one year in jail, paying fines between $150 and $1,100 on average, a driver’s license suspension time of six months, and having to install and use an Ignition Interlock device, or Car Breathalyzer as it is also known.
A second offense for those who had their first DUI conviction within the last five years in Arkansas, will face harsher penalties including between seven days and one year in jail, paying fines between $400 and $3,000, a license suspension of two years, and having to get and pay for the cost of the Ignition Interlock device for a longer period of time. A third time DUI offense driver will have to contend with the charges likely upgraded to a felony, minimum 90 days to one year in jail, expensive monetary fines between $900 and $5,000, a 30-month driver’s license suspension, and having to install an Ignition Interlock and pay all of the device’s fee requirements for at least two years.
How Does Implied Consent Law in the State of Arkansas Work?
Like a growing number of states in the country, Arkansas enforces an “implied consent law” when it comes to a DUI arrest, which means those carrying a driver’s license for this state automatically consent to having chemical testing performed to determine their BAC. These tests can include urine, blood, or breath tests to help determine if individuals are under the influence of alcohol, Marijuana, illegal drugs, or even prescribed medicine. For those drivers who refuse to take the DUI tests, they are subject to an automatic license suspension of 180 days (first offense). AR drivers who refuse testing are also denied the possibility of receiving an Ignition Interlock driver’s license, to legally drive under restricted conditions.
Is there a Zero Tolerance Policy for Minors in Place in the State of Arkansas?
Unlike many other states across the country, Arkansas is not currently enforcing a Zero Tolerance policy for minors under the age of 21. Under Arkansas state law, the maximum BAC for individuals under the age of 21 is 0.02 percent. Additionally, those operating a commercial vehicle have a lower BAC threshold than the average driver – drivers operating a commercial vehicle have a maximum BAC percentage of 0.04 percent. The charges brought against drivers are based on the circumstances of the case and the BAC maximum that applies to the circumstances at hand. Therefore the strong possibility of having to get an interlock device installed is very likely in these type of underage DUI cases.
What is an Ignition Interlock Device and How Does It Work?
For those who do not know what an Ignition Interlock device or IID is, it works much in the same way as a police officer’s Breathalyzer by determining an individual’s blood alcohol content (BAC). This car Breathalyzer device is installed in DUI offenders’ vehicles, generally on the dashboard and is meant to prevent them from driving should their BAC be too high. A driver will need to blow into the interlock in order to start their vehicle – should their BAC percentage exceed the predetermined threshold, the vehicle will not start. Additionally, a record of the high BAC is reported to the individual’s probation officer, local law enforcement, the court system, or another authorized Arkansas official.
When is Using an Ignition Interlock Device Required in Arkansas?
Arkansas has put forth state legislation outlining when a person convicted of a DUI offense is required to install an Ignition Interlock on their car. Courts are required to order the installation, use, and maintenance of an IID as a condition of the offender’s driving privileges being reinstated. These circumstances include but are not limited to the following:
- A driver convicted of a first DUI offense is ordered to have an Ignition Interlock for up to 12 months on average.
- Those convicted of a second DUI offense charge are ordered to use an IID for up to 24 months.
- Offenders convicted of their third subsequent offense may be restricted in only operating a vehicle equipped with an approved, functioning interlock device for a period of a minimum of 2 years after the offender’s driver’s license is no longer restricted or suspended.
Additionally, any driver arrested for driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated or using a controlled substance or offenders who refuse to submit to testing to determine BAC are ineligible for getting an IID to legally drive at all in AR.
Who is Responsible for Paying for the Fees of an Ignition Interlock Device?
In almost all DUI cases in the state of Arkansas, individuals ordered to use an IID are responsible for paying for all aspects of the Ignition Interlock device, which include the cost for installation, service, maintenance, and removal fees when the mandatory period for the interlock machine has ended. AR DUI offenders ordered to use an interlock should expect to pay anywhere up to $110 to have the device installed as well as between $75 and $120 per month in leasing fees for the device. It is important to note that these figures are just average total fee estimates, and do not include the costs for maintenance and removal – some people may pay more for their car Breathalyzer equipment, and some may pay less. Like with every person’s case, much of these factors and full costs will have a lot to do with a driver’s specific DUI arrest details.
What is the Process of Obtaining an Ignition Interlock Device in Arkansas?
When an Arkansas court orders a person to have an Ignition Interlock device machine installed, they have to get the device and have it installed by a state approved provider. There are a number of approved IID providers throughout the state of Arkansas in which offenders can contact for service, and a list of approved providers can be found on the Arkansas Department of Correction’s website. The local court orders offenders to obtain and install the interlock device within a certain window of time. Once the car Breathalyzer device has been successfully installed on any car the person will be driving, the driver will then be required to show proof of having the Ignition Interlock machine installed to the court, which likely includes the IID lease agreement as well as acknowledgement from the provider of installation.