Driving while intoxicated is one of the most frequently ticketed offenses in Arkansas and it is vigorously prosecuted. Conviction of DWI can mean jail time, fines and license suspension. Repeat DWI offenders are subject to significantly stiffer penalties. Recognizing that many repeat DWI offenders have substance dependency issues such as alcohol, drugs or both, several counties have created DWI courts to address these causes with a view to prevention of impaired driving.
There are now 11 DWI courts in Arkansas. Admission to a DWI court program is a way to avoid the jail sentences visited on repeat offenders, which are seven to 14 days for a second offense and 90 days for a third offense.
After adjudication of the charges, a DWI offender is evaluated by a DWI court team, comprised of a judge, coordinator, defense attorney, prosecutor, probation officer, law enforcement officer, treatment practitioner and other community service providers. The team seeks to identify whatever underlying conditions may cause the alcohol and/or drug use. Those conditions could be depression, schizophrenia or another mental disorder.
The team then seeks to determine the type and level of treatment that may be needed. This may include directing the offender to a recovery program such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. Participation in these programs is mandatory and the DWI court team monitors the repeat offender’s progress or lack of progress.
A significant aspect of the DWI court program is its provision calling for community supervision of program participants. The program recognizes that repeat DWI offenders present a significant danger to society. A DWI court participant can expect frequent interaction with his or her probation officer. Visits by a probation officer with a breathalyzer may be made night or day, at home or work, possibly on a payday or when an NFL or college football game is broadcast. The DWI court team also may require that an ignition interlock device be installed in the participant’s car and that electronic surveillance or other alcohol detection devices be placed in the participant’s home.
Still, if you are charged with DWI in Arkansas as a repeat offender, the DWI court program can be an attractive option that avoids jail. However, you need a DWI defense attorney who will advocate for your admission to the program and stand with you as you as you go through treatment and recovery.
James Law Firm in Little Rock, Arkansas provides skillful defense and aggressive representation for DWI charges. Contact us online or call (501) 375-0900 to schedule your free consultation. We are available 24/7, and jail appointments are also available. Parking is free at our office in Little Rock.