Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
The laws about DWI’s (Driving While Intoxicated) can be confusing, and everyone seems to think that he or she is an expert. In our experience, most of the advice that people give is wrong. If you’ve been charged with a DWI, you need someone who knows the law and knows what to do to give you a fighting chance—an aggressive Arkansas DWI attorney. Some DWI’s really are winnable, but many are not. Because we are DWi attorneys and understand the law, we will be able to tell you where you stand.
Common Questions regarding DWIs in Arkansas:
Under the Arkansas DWI law, you can be convicted of a DWI for EITHER of these two things:
- being in physical control of or operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, or
- being in physical control of or operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or over. This number is 0.04 if you are a commercial driver (even if you’re not on the job!) and 0.02 if you’re under 21.
This is important. It means that the prosecutor doesn’t need your BAC to convict. He or she simply has to show beyond a reasonable doubt that you were intoxicated while you were in control of the vehicle. The term “intoxicated” is pretty broad; it pretty much means that your driving is affected and it doesn’t matter whether it was drugs, alcohol, or both that were responsible.
The term “intoxication” can be interpreted differently. A good DWI attorney will force a prosecutor to prove that the substance is truly an intoxicant.
The penalties for an Arkansas DWI increase significantly every time you get one. A first DWI carries a penalty of no less than one day and no more than one year and a fine between $150 and $1000. The person will also have his or her license suspended for 120 or 180 days, depending on BAC.
The fine and jail time are dependent on several factors, which include the following:
- Whether there was a passenger under 16 in the car at the time of offense
- The driver’s BAC (anything over .15 is a harsher penalty).
DWI’s stack up based on a five-year basis. So, when a person is convicted of a DWI, the Court will look back five years and any other DWI’s will dramatically increase the sentence.
A second offense faces imprisonment of not less than 30 days and a fine from $400 to $3,000. A third offense is 90 days and from $900 to $5,000. Again, having a passenger under 16 in the car and one’s actual BAC are both factors that might make sentence more severe.
Although most DWI’s are misdemeanors, it is important that you do whatever you can to protect yourself. A DWI can affect current or prospective employment and will make your insurance rates rise significantly. You are better off finding an experienced, aggressive DWI attorney who understands the law and can make sure that you are able to fight a DWI conviction. If you need help with your situation, do not wait. Please call us at one of our two locations: North Little Rock (501) 372-1212 or Cabot (501) 941-1937.