Despite having tough laws on the books against drunk driving, Arkansas is among the top 10 deadliest states for DWI, according to an auto insurance industry research study.
In September 2021, BuyAutoInsurance.com reported, based on a three-year study, that the death rate in Arkansas for DWI-related accidents was 5.91 per 100,000 residents — the seventh highest rate among all states. That compared with a nationwide fatality rate of 4.3 percent. There were about 500 DWI fatalities in Arkansas during the study period.
While these high death numbers are caution enough to avoid drunk driving in our state, the penalties imposed by law provide additional incentive. Even first-time offenders can face significant penalties if convicted.
A first DWI conviction carries a one-year maximum jail sentence, a $1,000 fine and a 180-day license suspension. The penalties for multiple convictions within a five-year period are as follows:
Penalties for each of these offenses are increased if there was a passenger under age 16 in the driver’s car at the time of the offense. Additionally, the penalties for a DWI may be enhanced if property damage, injury, or fatality resulted from the drunk driving. Every person who has been convicted of a DWI must complete an alcohol treatment program.
In some cases, community service may be ordered by a judge instead of jail time. If your license is suspended due to a DWI, you may be permitted to drive with a restricted license if you install an interlock ignition device in your vehicle for a specified amount of time. This option is not available for fourth and subsequent offenses, however.
Unlike some other states, Arkansas does not allow drunk driving charges to be reduced to reckless driving. This is why it is critical to have a skilled defense attorney on your side to protect your rights and your driving privileges. An experienced DWI lawyer can assess your specific case and develop a comprehensive defense strategy designed to achieve the best possible outcome.
Located in Little Rock, James Law Firm is committed to aggressive representation of drivers in Arkansas who have been charged with DWIs. Call (501) 375-0900 or contact us online for a free consultation.