Arkansas DWI / DUI Lawyers

Alcohol is a constant presence in our society.

Arkansas DWI / DUI Lawyers | The Law Group of Northwest Arkansas

Any time you go out to eat, there are beers, wines, and cocktails on the menu. It is common to go to a bar just to have a few drinks. From the time we are 21 years old, or earlier for many, many individuals consistently drink alcohol. There may come a time when you fail to prepare, and you drive home after having a drink or two. Despite the fact you had no intention to drive drunk, you could be pulled over, arrested, and charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI/DUI). Whether you are confident you were not inebriated at the time, or you made a common mistake, you should call our Arkansas DWI lawyers for help. We are here to defend you against these charges. Our Fayetteville criminal defense lawyers will push for an acquittal in your case and prepare to mitigate the consequences of a DUI conviction.

To discuss Arkansas’ DWI/DUI law and possible defenses to the charges, contact our Arkansas DUI lawyers at (479) 316-3760 or through our online contact form. The Law Group’s criminal defense attorneys are former Benton, Washington, and Sebastian county prosecuting attorneys and have years of experience and knowledge regarding criminal matters in our region.


Arkansas DUI Law

AR Code §5-65-103 prohibits drunk driving. This statute makes it unlawful for anyone who is intoxicated to operate or be in actual physical control of a boat or a motor vehicle. By law, anyone who is at least 21 years old and has a breath or blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent is specifically prohibited from operating or being in physical control of a boat or motor vehicle.

It is important to read this statute carefully. Though it is brief, it offers a wide range of situations in which you could be charged with a DUI. To begin with, you can be charged with this offense while in any type of motor vehicle, like a car, scooter, truck, motorcycle, boat, or golf cart.

You can be charged whether you are actually operating that vehicle, or if you are simply in physical control of it. Ultimately, this means you could face a DUI when you are not technically driving. If you are sitting in the front seat with the keys in your hand and you have a BAC of .08, you could be arrested for DUI.

Also, under the statute, you can be charged whether or not your BAC is above the legal limit. Having a BAC of .08 percent or higher is one standard for DUI charges. However, if there is other evidence to prove you are intoxicated due to drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both, you also can be charged and convicted.

Because Arkansas allows for DUI charges in a variety of circumstances, it is important to call our Fayetteville DUI lawyers as soon as possible after an arrest.


Penalties for a DWI/DUI in Arkansas

For adults over 21 years old who are arrested for a DWI/DUI, the charge is usually a misdemeanor. However, if you have previous DUI convictions, you may be charged with a felony. The potential sentences for DUI may be:

First DUI (Misdemeanor)

  • Incarceration up to one year, or at least seven days of community service
  • Fines up to $1,000
  • Driver’s license suspension between 4 and 6 months
  • For a BAC over .15 percent, a 180-day license suspension
  • Ignition interlock device

Second DUI Within five years (Misdemeanor)

  • Incarceration between 30 days and one year, or at least 30 days of community service
  • Fines up to $3,000
  • 2-year driver’s license suspension
  • Ignition interlock device

Third DUI Within five years (Misdemeanor)

  • Incarceration between 90 days and one year, or at least 90 days of community service
  • Fines up to $5,000
  • 30 or 36-month driver’s license suspension
  • Ignition interlock device

Fourth DWI Within five years (Felony)

  • Imprisonment between one and six years, or at least one year of community service
  • Fines up to $5,000
  • Driver’s license revocation between four years and life

Fifth DWI Within five years (Felony)

  • Imprisonment between two and six years, or at least two years of community services
  • Fines up to $5,000
  • Driver’s license revocation between four years and life

Underage DUI in Arkansas

When a driver is 20 years old or younger, the standard for when they can be arrested and charged with a DUI is lower. Under AR Code §5-65-303, a person commits an underage DUI if they are under 21 years old and operate or are in actual physical control of a boat or motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxication or they have a BAC between .02 and .08 percent.

It is incredibly easy to have a BAC of .02 percent. If you have one drink before you get into to a vehicle, your blood or breath will register alcohol in your body. And remember, you do not have to have a BAC to be charged with an underage DUI if there are other signs of intoxication.

If you are a teen or young adult charged with a DWI/DUI, do not hesitate to call our Arkansas DUI lawyers for help. You need to fight these charges to maintain a clean record or to at least minimize the possible consequences. Additionally, if you are charged as a minor, Law Group attorney, Heather Campbell, is a former juvenile prosecutor in Washington County, and she has years of experience in juvenile matters.

If convicted of a first-time underage DUI offense, you could face a license suspension between 90 and 120 days, loss of your license or permit, fines up to $500, mandatory community service work, and a mandatory alcohol and driving education program. The statutory penalties increase for subsequent underage DUIs.


DUI Arrests in National Parks Lead to Federal Charges

There are certain areas in Northwest Arkansas where you may face a DUI arrest that is prosecuted at a federal level instead of state. You may be pulled over for a DUI in or near a national park, including Pea Ridge National Military Park, Hot Springs National Park, Buffalo National River, Clarence Craft Park, Ozark National Forest, or Hickory Park.

We often receive calls from individuals pulled over in the national park surrounding Buffalo National River. The river is 153 miles long and the surrounding area is managed by the National Park Service. You and your friends or family may go there to float, camp, ride horses, hike, and fish. Unfortunately, it is common for people to drink in the area and then try to drive, which has led police and the National Park Service to be particularly alert to possible drunk driving. With officers on the lookout for drunk driving, you are more likely to be pulled over on a day out.

If you are arrested for a DWI/DUI after spending a day at a national park, do not hesitate to call our DWI lawyers in Fayetteville. If you were on national park land and arrested by the National Park Service, you may face a federal DUI offense. This is a Class B misdemeanor for a first offense. If convicted, you face up to six months in federal prison, up to five years of probation, and fines reaching $5,000. Law Group attorney, Matthew Benson, formerly with the US Attorney’s office, has significant experience regarding federal crimes.


Other Arkansas Alcohol Crimes

There are other alcohol-related crimes you can be charged with in Arkansas, including:

Knowingly Furnishing Alcohol to Minor (AR Code §3-3-202): You can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor or Class D felony for knowingly selling or furnishing a person under 21 years old with alcohol.

Minor in Possession of Alcohol (AR Code §3-3-203): If you are younger than 21 years old, then you are not allowed to purchase or possess alcohol. The law specifically states that liquor, wine, or beer in the body of a person under 21 years old is deemed to be possession. If you are at least 18 years old and you violate this law, you can be fined between $100 and $500, placed on probation, and required to write an essay.

Public Intoxication (AR Code §5-71-212): You can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor if you are in public and are clearly under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance to the degree that you are a danger to yourself or others or that you are unreasonably annoying to others in the vicinity. It also is a Class C misdemeanor to drink alcohol in a public place, on the street, or in a vehicle, unless that area is specifically designated for the purpose.

Open Container Laws (AR Code §5-71-218): It is illegal to possess an open container of alcohol in a car in the driver or passenger seat or where the container is readily accessible to a driver or passenger while on a public road. This is a Class C misdemeanor.


If You Have Been Arrested for a DUI or Alcohol Crime, call our Arkansas DWI Lawyers Today

Alcohol is a part of our every day lives and is readily available. Yet despite its presence in society, it is highly regulated. You can easily accidentally violate an alcohol law. You may forget that you have an opened bottle of wine on the floor of the passenger seat. Or, you may think you are fine to drive, yet blow a .08 when you are pulled over and take a breathalyzer.

When you are facing these types of charges, you need legal help. By hiring our Arkansas DUI lawyers, you have a much better chance of defending yourself against the charges, or if you are convicted, of minimizing the penalties.

To learn how to defend against a DWI or alcohol offense, call The Law Group of Northwest Arkansas LLP at (479) 316-3760 or contact us online.