A conviction for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Arkansas leads to fines, jail time, and several administrative penalties. But did you know that these penalties can increase based on the number of prior DWI convictions you’ve had?
This blog will explore the impact of prior DWI offenses on a current case and how the penalties for conviction change.
A violation of Arkansas’ DWI laws for the first time is an unclassified misdemeanor. On conviction, a person faces up to a year in jail and $1,000 in fines, though a court may order the convicted driver to render public service instead.
In terms of administrative penalties, the state Office of Driver Services can suspend the driver’s privileges for up to a year before they can start driving again. Once the driver can operate a vehicle again, they must have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on their vehicle for up to a year.
Second offense, third offense
A second and third conviction for DWI within 10 years of the first offense also leads to up to a year of jail time. The driver must also have an IID installed on their car, and the Office will suspend their license for up to 24 months for a second offense and 30 months for a third offense.
However, if the second conviction was instead recorded within five years of the first, the maximum fine increases to $3,000. If a third offense occurred within five years of the second offense, the maximum fine further rises to $5,000.
A fourth DWI offense within 10 years of the previous one isn’t an unclassified misdemeanor anymore – it becomes an unclassified felony instead. On conviction, the driver faces up to six years of prison time. If the offense was committed within five years of the last one, the offender might have to pay as much as $5,000 in fines.
The Office of Driver Services will also suspend the convicted’s driving privileges for four years. Unless a court allows the driver to apply for restricted privileges, the driver isn’t required to have an IID installed.
Fifth and subsequent offenses
A fifth or subsequent DWI within 10 years of the previous one is a Class B felony – the highest criminal degree for a DWI offense. On conviction, a person faces up to 10 years in prison. If the offense was committed within five years of the last one, the maximum fine they must pay is $5,000.
For a sixth offense, the maximum prison time hits 25 years and the driver must pay up to $15,000 in fines.
The Office of Driver Services can revoke a driver’s license in both cases, and the driver can’t normally apply for a restricted license for an IID.
The penalties for a DWI conviction can be severe, and the consequences can last long after the legal proceedings are over – DWIs are still crimes and will appear on a person’s criminal record. By working with an experienced legal professional, you can protect your rights should you face accusations of the offense.