There are two ways you can be convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in the state of Arkansas. The first way by proving that your driving is impaired due to the presence of alcohol or drugs in your system. This is known as a "common-law" DWI offense. The prosecution will need to show that your driving patterns or the failure of a filed sobriety test proved that you were intoxicated and not driving safely.
The other way you can be charged with DWI in Arkansas is through the state's per se law. This says that you can be convicted based solely on your blood alcohol content (BAC). It is illegal to drive in Arkansas with a BAC of .08% or higher, even if your driving appears to be safe.DWI Arrests in Arkansas
When you are pulled over for suspicion of violating Arkansas DUI laws, you will be given a series of field sobriety tests. Based on these tests and your driving pattern, you may be arrested for DWI. At this point you will be asked to submit to a BAC test. If you refuse to take the test, this information can be used against you in court and also carries penalties in and of itself.
Your arrest creates two cases, one in the criminal courts and one in the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration Office of Motor Vehicles. The administrative hearing will decide whether or not you can retain your license after your conviction. However, you have to request this hearing. If you fail to do so correctly within seven days of your arrest, you automatically lose your license. This is why it is so important to have a lawyer working with you to ensure that you file all of the necessary forms correctly and on time.Basic Consequences for First Time Offenders
If your Arkansas DWI conviction is your first such conviction, you can expect to face the following consequences:
Subsequent DWI offenses carry tougher penalties.License Suspensions for Arkansas DWI
You will also pay for your Arkansas DWI offense by losing your license temporarily. The license suspension is handled in the administrative hearing. Common license suspension times are as follows:
You may be able to apply for a restricted license after serving a portion of your suspension. This license will allow you to drive to and from work and school. If you refused to take the BAC test, you will face longer license suspensions. For instance, if it is your first offense and you refuse the BAC test, your license suspension time will be 180 days.Insurance Consequences
Being convicted of an Arkansas DWI will also cause you to face severe consequences with your insurance company. You may be dropped completely, or you may find that the cost of your insurance increases dramatically. If you have to shop for a new insurance policy, your DWI conviction will make it difficult to find a company willing to insure you at a reasonable price. However, in order to get your license back, you will have to have proof of insurance.