Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Arkansas DWI Laws

Driving under the influence of an intoxicant is a dangerous offense. It can result in serious criminal charges. If charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Arkansas, you could spend at least 24 hours in jail and up to six years. And while the fines and penalties associated with a DWI conviction range from $150 to $5,000, legal fees and missed work can add up to much more.

Understanding the law will help you avoid costly mistakes behind the wheel of your car, truck, or motorcycle. And knowing your legal options is key when charged with a DWI in Arkansas. Below is an overview of Arkansas DWI and DUI laws.

Arkansas DWI Laws: Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits and Implied Consent

"Per Se" BAC Limit 0.08%
Zero Tolerance (Underage) BAC Limit 0.02%
Enhanced Penalty (Aggravated) BAC Limit 0.15%
Implied Consent to Submit to BAC Test? Yes

Arkansas DWI Laws: Select Penalties

Minimum License Suspension or Revocation (1st, 2nd, 3rd offense) 6 months, 2 years, 30 months
Mandatory Alcohol Education, Assessment and Treatment Both
Vehicle Confiscation Possible? Yes (4th offense)
Ignition Interlock Device Possible? Yes (mandatory for all convictions)

Note: State laws are always changing through legislative, judicial, or other means. While FindLaw works hard to ensure the accuracy of its legal resources, it's a good idea to thoroughly research the law or check with an attorney to ensure you have the most recent information.

Driving While Intoxicated in Arkansas

Arkansas DWI laws prohibit the operating or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle or motorboat with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more or while under the influence of a controlled substance or an intoxicant. The BAC limit is 0.04% if you are operating a commercial vehicle.

You face a driving under the influence (DUI) arrest if you are under 21 and you have a blood alcohol level of 0.02%. You can be charged with the adult DWI offense if you are a minor with a BAC of 0.08% or more.

Being in actual control means you don't have to be driving to face a DWI charge. You could be sitting in your vehicle or have the boat anchored. A law enforcement officer can take many factors into consideration when deciding if you might be able to put the vehicle in motion.

You also don't have to be in a car or truck. A motor vehicle can be any device with a motor or that can be human-powered. This included bicycles, mobility scooters, and golf carts.

Arkansas Implied Consent Law and Chemical Tests

Having a boating or driver's license is a privilege. You agree to abide by the state boating and driving laws as part of this privilege. If you are a licensed motorist in Arkansas, you have consented to have your breath, urine, or other bodily fluid tested when a law enforcement officer has a reasonable suspicion you are driving while intoxicated. These chemical tests determine the extent of your impairment. Test results are evidence of your impairment.

While you can refuse to comply when a police officer asks you to submit to a breath test, blood test, or to supply urine samples, you will lose your driving privileges for at least 180 days, regardless of whether you were actually intoxicated. A second refusal within five years will increase your suspension period to 24 months.

Criminal Penalties

Arkansas DWI and DUI laws prohibit plea bargaining or reducing charges in impaired driving cases. You also may not serve pre-trial probation to have your charges dismissed.

DWI is a misdemeanor charge unless you receive four convictions within five years. If found guilty (or you plead guilty), you will undergo a presentence screening and assessment. This screening will examine your driving record, and you will undergo an alcohol evaluation. It may include victim impact statements.

Other criminal penalties include:

  • First-time DWI conviction: A jail sentence from one day to up to one year, or a minimum of 24 hours of community service. Fines range from $150 to $1000.
  • Second offense within five years: A sentence of seven days to one year in jail, or a minimum of 30 days of community service. Fines range from $400 to $3000.
  • Third offense within five years: Increases jail time to 90 days to one year or a minimum of 90 days of community service. Fines range from $900 to $5000.
  • Fourth or subsequent offense: Felony. Community service is not available.
  • If a minor aged 16 or less is in the vehicle during the DWI, penalties get enhanced.

Driver's License Penalties

Immediately upon arrest, law enforcement will confiscate your driver's license. You lose your license for 90 days for a first offense. The suspension period is 24 months for your second offense and 30 months for a third DWI within five years.

You may apply for a restricted license, which allows you to drive under limited circumstances after installing an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle. An IID is a breathalyzer-like machine that requires you to submit a breath sample. If it detects alcohol, your vehicle will not start. IIDs are only available for alcohol-related offenses. You will need to have the IID for the length of your license suspension. You must maintain the IID permanently after a fourth offense within five years.

To regain your license, you must:

  • Complete a drug and alcohol education and treatment program
  • Attend a victim's impact panel
  • Maintain an IID for the length of suspension time with no violations
  • Pay a reinstatement fee

An underage DUI conviction will suspend driving privileges for 90 days for the first offense and one year for the second. A third offense within five years will suspend driving privileges for three years or until you reach 21, whichever time frame is longer. You will have to complete the same requirements for reinstatement as an adult.

Arkansas DWI Resources

Get Legal Help From an Arkansas DWI Attorney

If you're facing a DWI charge in Arkansas, you should know that you could receive serious fines, license suspension, and even jail time. However, you may have a solid legal defense to the charges, and it makes sense to consult with an attorney. An excellent next step is to contact an Arkansas DWI attorney near you.

Was this helpful?

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.

Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

  • Complex DUI situations usually require a lawyer
  • DUI defense attorneys can challenge Breathalyzer/Intoxilyzer or blood test results
  • A lawyer can seek to reduce or eliminate DUI penalties
  • A lawyer can help get your license back

Get tailored advice and ask your legal questions. Many attorneys offer free consultations.


 If you need an attorney, find one right now.

Copied to clipboard

Find a Lawyer

More Options