3 ways Arkansas penalizes DWI offenses

On Behalf of | Jul 14, 2022 | Criminal Defense

After a police officer pulls you over due to suspicion of a driving while intoxicated (DWI) offense or orders chemical testing following a crash, you could end up facing charges. If you perform poorly on a field sobriety test or if you fail a chemical breath test, you have more at risk than just a night in jail.

Arkansas DWI charges can mean significant penalties that affect you financially, professionally and socially. Those who plead guilty often learn the hard way that a judge can still sentence them to the harshest possible penalties despite their cooperation.

What are the most serious penalties associated with drunk driving charges in Arkansas?

Incarceration

Not every DWI offense will lead to jail time, but some of them do. The more serious the infraction and the more issues on someone’s driving record, the more likely they are to face jail time. A first offense may lead to 24 hours in jail or up to a year in state custody. Repeat offenders with four or more prior DWI charges could face up to 10 years in prison.

License suspension

It is common for those convicted of a DWI offense to lose their driving privileges. The length of the suspension reflects both the circumstances of the arrest and how many prior DWI charges someone has faced. A first-time DWI will mean six months without a driver’s license, while a fourth DWI within five years will mean a four-year suspension.

Fines

The courts assign financial penalties for many traffic offenses, including DWI charges. The fines that you pay will range from $150 for a first-time DWI to $5,000 for those with multiple prior DWIs. Those fines are in addition to licensing fees and court costs.

You will likely also find that your insurance costs also significantly increase following a DWI conviction. The amount that you pay in fines may only be a fraction of the total financial impact of those charges. Unless you aggressively fight back against DWI allegations, you are at the mercy of the courts when it comes to your freedom and your driving privileges.

Developing a strong defense strategy could help you avoid jail time, financial penalties and the loss of your license after a DWI arrest.