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Holiday drunk driving: Know the penalties you face

Now that the holiday party season is upon us, everyone who is going to drink alcohol should make plans to have a way to get home that doesn't involve drunk driving. If you don't do this and end up trying to drive yourself home, you are facing some very serious penalties in Arkansas.

Even if you are facing a first DUI, the penalties are still considerable. You could even spend up to a year in jail, although it's more likely that the judge would order you to do 30 days of community service instead spending any time in jail. You also face up to $1,000 in fines.

Subsequent offenses carry penalties that are more severe than the first offense. In the case of second and third offenses that occur within a five-year period after the first, you face a one-year prison sentence. The court can opt to sentence you to do 60 days of community service on a second offense, or 90 days of community service on a third offense, instead of jail time. Fines of up to $3,000 for a second offense and $5,000 for a third offense are possible.

If you end up facing a fourth or fifth DUI after that first offense, you are looking at felony charges. The fourth offense comes with up to six years in prison or a year of community service. The fifth offense comes with up to 10 years in prison or two years of community service. Fines are also possible with fourth and fifth offenses.

Now that you know the possible penalties you can face for a DUI, be sure to make responsible plans. If you do end up drinking and driving, get your defense moving forward as quickly as possible once you know that you are facing charges.

Source: FindLaw, "What Are the Arkansas DWI Laws?," accessed Dec. 14, 2016

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