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Arkansas DWI Defense Attorneys Protect Your License

Little Rock attorneys defend clients accused of DWI and DWI-related offenses

Since the 1990s, state and local police have stepped up enforcement actions against motorists suspected of driving while intoxicated (DWI), and the government has aggressively prosecuted these cases. DWI convictions come with serious penalties, especially if the facts of the case support enhancements of the charge and sentencing. But simply being arrested for DWI — without a conviction — can result in license suspension and fines. If you have been arrested for DWI, you can count on James Law Firm for a strong defense. Our determined attorneys work hard to protect your driving privileges, keep you out of jail and keep you informed as your case progresses.

What are the components of a DWI charge?

DWI is one of the more frequently charged crimes in Arkansas. It is illegal for most drivers to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. The crime of Underage Driving Under the Influence in Arkansas imposes charges at a BAC level of 0.02 percent, and for commercial drivers, DWI charges are imposed at a BAC of 0.04 percent. A movement is under way to make the permissible BAC levels even lower, which would increase the number of prosecutions statewide.

Under the law, “intoxicated” includes impairment from controlled substances, though these are not categorized as drug crimes. Whether you’ve been charged with DWI, conventional drug crimes or both, our attorneys are prepared to protect your due process rights and fight for your freedom in court.

What are the penalties for a DWI conviction?

In DWI cases, Arkansas does not allow you to plead to a lesser-included offense such as reckless driving. The penalties for DWI crimes are:

  • First offense — The basic maximum penalty is one year in jail, a fine of $1,000 and a license suspension of 180 days.
  • Second offense — For a second conviction within five years, the basic minimum penalty is 30 days in jail, a fine of $3,000 and a license suspension of two years.
  • Third offense within five years — The basic minimum penalty is 90 days in jail, a fine of $5,000 and a license suspension of 30 months.
  • Fourth or subsequent offense — Such a conviction within five years is charged as a felony.

The enhanced penalties for subsequent DWI convictions highlight the importance of fighting the first charge, and our criminal defense attorneys are prepared to deliver the help you need.

Should I refuse to take the Breathalyzer or blood test?

A common question we hear is whether you should submit to law enforcement’s attempts to measure your BAC through a breath or blood test. These tests are a double-edged sword. If you refuse to take a chemical test in Arkansas, your license may be suspended for six months for a first offense, two years for a second offense and three years for a third offense. On the other hand, if you refuse to take a test to determine your BAC, the prosecution must rely on more subjective evidence, such as field sobriety tests and the police officer’s testimony, to prove intoxication. You must decide which factor is more important to you and act accordingly. Then, in either case, call us to begin building your defense.

How long does a DUI conviction stay on your record in Arkansas?

In Arkansas, DUI (drivers under 21 who have a BAC between .02 percent and .08 percent) is different from DWI (driver of any age at .08 percent or above). If you are convicted of a DUI, that conviction is permanently on your record. The authorities can then use that conviction for five years to justify enhanced charges if you are arrested again for DWI. After five years, the authorities can no longer use that conviction to bring more serious charges.

What is an ignition interlock device?

An ignition interlock device (IID) is a Breathalyzer that attaches to your car and prevents you from starting the engine until you blow into the mouthpiece to test your BAC. If you do not provide a breath sample or your breath sample indicates a BAC level above the legal limit, you won’t be able to start your car. Some states require judges to order IID installation after a DWI conviction. In Arkansas, that order is discretionary. Judges may order IID installation for the first year after your license suspension is lifted.

Our Little Rock attorneys are prepared to help after a DWI arrest

James Law Firm in 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. Hablamos español.

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