Arkansas Drunk Driving Laws

When is a Driver Considered to be Legally Drunk in Arkansas?

  • Non-commercial drivers age 21+ are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .08 or more.
  • Drivers of commercial vehicles are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .04 percent or greater. Under Arkansas law, a school bus driver is a commercial driver.
  • Drivers under 21 are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .02 or more.

Penalties for Drunk Driving in Arkansas

  • First-time offenders face a term of imprisonment of up to one year. If, however, a passenger under 16 was in the vehicle at the time of the offense, the offender must serve at least 7 days. First-time offenders are also subject to a fine ranging from $150 to $1,000. A first-time offender whose BAC was at least .08 but less than .15 will have his or her driver’s license suspended for 120 days, unless the offender is permitted to drive on an ignition interlock restricted license. A first-time offender whose BAC was .15 or greater faces a license suspension of 180 days, unless the offender is permitted to drive on an ignition interlock restricted license.
  • A person who commits a second DWI within five years of the first conviction faces a term of imprisonment of 30 days to one year or no less than 30 days of community service. If, however, a passenger under 16 was in the vehicle at the time of the offense, the prison term ranges from 30 days to one year or at least 60 days of community service. These offenders are also subject to a fine ranging from $400 to $3,000. A second-time offender whose BAC was .08 or more faces a two-year license suspension. If the offender is permitted to drive on an ignition interlock restricted license, the suspension period is a minimum of one year.
  • A person who commits a third DWI within five years of the previous convictions faces a prison term of 90 days to one year or no less than 90 days of community service. If, however, a passenger under 16 was in the vehicle at the time of the offense, the prison term ranges from 120 days to one year or at least 120 days of community service. Third-time offenders are also subject to a fine ranging from $900 to $5,000. A third-time offender whose BAC was .08 or more faces a 30-month license suspension. If the offender is permitted to drive on an ignition interlock restricted license, the suspension period is a minimum of one year.
  • Offenders who are convicted of DWI for a fourth time within five years of the previous convictions are subject to a prison term ranging from one to six years or at least one year of community service. If, however, a passenger under 16 was in the vehicle at the time of the offense, the prison term ranges from two to six years or at least two years of community services. These offenders are also subject to a fine ranging from $900 to $5,000. Driving privileges are revoked for four years.
  • Offenders who are convicted of DWI for a fifth or subsequent time within five years of the previous convictions are subject to a prison term ranging from two to 10 years or at least two years of community service. If, however, a passenger under 16 was in the vehicle at the time of the offense, the prison term ranges from three to 10 years or at least three years of community service. These offenders are also subject to a fine ranging from $900 to $5,000. Driving privileges are revoked for four years.
  • Every person whose license is suspended or revoked as a result of a DWI conviction is required to complete an alcohol education program or alcoholism treatment program.

Ignition Interlock

Any offender who is permitted to drive on an ignition interlock restricted license may be required to drive with that restriction for one year after expiration of their license suspension period.

Commercial Drivers

In addition to other penalties associated with the Arkansas DWI laws, a person who holds a commercial driver’s license and is convicted of DWI for the first time will lose his or her commercial driver’s license for one year, regardless of whether the offense was committed while driving a commercial or noncommercial vehicle. If the DWI was committed while the commercial driver was transporting hazardous materials, the driver will lose his commercial driver’s license three years. If a person who holds a commercial driver’s license commits a second DWI offense, that person will lose his commercial driver’s license for life.

Drivers Under 21

The Arkansas underage DUI law applies to drivers under 21. If, however, there is evidence that a minor has a blood alcohol concentration of more than .02 but less than .08, the minor may be prosecuted under the Arkansas DWI statute that applies to persons 21 and over. If the minor is prosecuted under the underage DUI statutes, the penalties are as follows:

  • First-time offenders will be fined between $100 and $500. They must perform public service work as ordered by a judge. The driver’s license suspension period is 90 days.
  • Second-time offenders will be fined between $200 and $1,000. They must perform community service work for at least 30 days. The driver’s license suspension period is one year.
  • A minor who commits a third or subsequent offense will be fined between $500 and $2,000. The offender must also perform community service work for at least 60 days. The minor’s driver’s license will be revoked until his or her 21st birthday or for three years, whichever period is longer.
  • All underage drivers whose licenses are suspended as a result of an underage DUI must complete an alcohol and driving education program for underage drivers, an alcoholism treatment program, or both.

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What is the Arkansas “Civil Liability for Sale of Alcohol to a Minor” Statute?

Under this statute, an alcoholic beverage retailer who knowingly sells alcohol to a minor when the retailer should have reasonably known that the purchaser was a minor is subject to civil liability if the sale caused injury to the minor or if the sale caused the minor to injure a third person.

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What is the Arkansas “Civil Liability for Sale of Alcohol to a Clearly Intoxicated Person” Statute?

Under this statute, an alcoholic beverage retailer who knowingly sells alcohol to a “clearly intoxicated” person when the retailer should have reasonably known that the person was “clearly intoxicated” at the time of the sale is subject to civil liability if the sale caused an injury to another person. Under this law, a person is considered “clearly intoxicated” when the person is so obviously intoxicated at the time of the sale that he presents a clear danger to others. A retailer can defend the action by presenting evidence that he had a reasonable belief that the person was not clearly intoxicated or that the person would not be operating a motor vehicle while in the impaired state.

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Criminal Penalties for Furnishing or Selling Alcohol to a Minor

  • In Arkansas, it is a crime for anyone to unknowingly sell, give away, or otherwise dispose of alcohol to a minor. First-time offenders are subject to a fine between $200 and $500. Second and subsequent offenses are Class A misdemeanors subject to a maximum fine of $2,500 and/or up to one year in prison.
  • It is also a crime to knowingly sell alcohol to a minor. A first conviction is a Class A misdemeanor subject to a maximum fine of $2,500 and/or up to one year in prison. A second conviction within 5 years of the first is a Class C felony punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000 and/or between 3 and 5 years in prison.
  • It is unlawful to knowingly furnish alcohol to a minor. A first-time offender commits a Class A misdemeanor subject to a maximum fine of $2,500 and/or up to one year in prison. A second conviction within 3 years of the first is a Class D felony, punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and/or not more than six years in prison.

Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.

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Note: Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia. This information is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia, although if you are injured in an accident, we have relationships with other personal injury attorneys and lawyers throughout the United States.

Please note: All of our lawyers are licensed to practice in the state of Pennsylvania. We also have lawyers licensed to practice in Ohio, and West Virginia and we associate with experienced attorneys in other states.

The materials at this web site have been prepared by our Law Firm for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. These materials do not, and are not, intended to constitute legal advice. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel. The information provided at this site is subject to change without notice. Although we try to keep our site current and accurate, you should not rely on this information or its applicability to any specific circumstances without speaking with an attorney.
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