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DWI and DUI Defense Lawyer
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DUI & DWI Defense Lawyer

We all know not to drive when we’ve been drinking, but we also know that sometimes alcohol causes us to make poor decisions.  Below are the consequences for DWI in the state of Arkansas.  Don’t let one poor decision ruin your life.  Schedule a FREE consultation with Stuart Cearley to find out what your options are if you’ve been charged with a DWI.

Driving While Intoxicated in Arkansas

Arkansas law strictly prohibits operating any motor vehicles while intoxicated.  DWI laws are not limited to public roads, but are applicable anywhere in the state, including off-road trails, private parking lots, and other areas where a driver’s license is not required.  Likewise, the context of “operating any motor vehicle” is not limited to street legal vehicles, but also includes but not limited to golf carts, ATVs, and riding lawn mowers. 


“Intoxication” as defined under this statute refers to an individual over the age of 21 with a blood/breath alcohol concentration of .08 or higher, or when the driver’s reaction, motor skills, and judgment are substantially altered, constituting a clear, substantial danger of injury or death to other motorists, pedestrians, or to himself. 

Here are the legal limits:

  • 0.08% or higher if you’re 21 or older.

  • 0.02% if you’re under the age of 21.

  • 0.04% if you’re driving a commercial vehicle.

Arkansas’ impaired driving statues also includes that if a person is in actual physical control, which means that the individual can exert control over the vehicle.  This can include someone asleep behind the wheel with the keys in the ignition and a non-running vehicle being pushed with an intoxicated driver steering.

Arkansas's "implied consent" laws requires that a chemical or breath test to assess be given to the driver arrested for DWI.  It the driver refuses testing penalties such as license revocation and use of an Ignition Interlock Device (breathalyzer) would still pertain.

Intoxication can also be due to substances medically prescribed by a physician, such as marijuana, benzodiazepines, or codeine. Using the “prescribed” nature of the substance will not hold up in court and is not an acceptable line of defense.  

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Penalties for DWI

Penalties imposed by a judge depend on a variety of factors, including details such as past convictions.  Penalties for each offense are increased if a passenger under the age of 16 is present at the time of the conviction.  Arkansas strictly prohibits plea bargains or dismissal of a DWI. Conviction for the first three offenses is considered a misdemeanor and may be expunged after five years:

  • First offense- 24-hour to 1-year jail sentence, with a fine of $150-$1,000 plus court costs, a six-month license suspension beginning one month after the date of the arrest.  An ignition interlock restricted license is available at this time (if there was no refusal to submit a blood, breath, or urine sample).

  • Second offense- 7-day to 1-year jail sentence, with a fine of $400-$3,000, with a 24-month license suspension.  Ignition interlock restricted license is available immediately.

  • Third offense- 90-day to 1-year jail sentence, with a fine of $900-$5,000, with a 30-month license suspension.  Ignition interlock restricted license may be available after the first 45 days of license suspension. 

The fourth and fifth offenses within a 5-year period will be considered a felony, at which there will be a 4-year license revocation, of which no restricted permits will be available at this time and a forfeiture of vehicle will take place if the fourth offense occurs within a 3 year period. 

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DUI Program

The state may require that you complete a DUI program. The length of the program will depend on the severity of your conviction.


Depending on the offense severity, it may be possible to request a restricted license that permits you to drive when necessary (i.e., to work).  The requirements for this allowance would most likely entail:

  • Completion of a prescribed DUI program.

  • Installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.

  • Understanding that only drive vehicles that have an ignition interlock device.

  • Payment of the reissuance and restriction fees to the state.


The judge, depending on the severity of the offense, can also order community service instead of incarceration. However, the judge must explain the reasons for not ordering jail time and ordering community service. Extenuating circumstances of the charged individual often plays into this decision.

Schedule a Legal Consultation

Because of the impact a DWI can have on an individual and their life, it is always a prudent to speak legal counsel regarding your case so you can be represented in court and are insured that your legal rights are protected. Cearley Law Group is experienced at defending DWI/DUI cases.  They will listen to your side and ensure that you have quality legal representation for the duration of your legal case.  Contact us today for your free consultation.

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