When it comes to drinking alcohol and driving, the question we hear most often is, “How much is too much?” From a legal standpoint, across the United States if you are found driving with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or greater, you’ll be charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). The consequences for a DWI are severe, but the truth is that drinking before driving can be dangerous long before your BAC hits the legal limit. If you truly want to be keep others safe on the road, don’t consume alcohol when you know you’ll be driving. It’s not just limited to alcohol; you can be charged for being under the influence of marijuana or prescription drugs if you are unable to pass a Standard Field Sobriety Test.
Unfortunately, many people do not follow these precautions before driving. The Center for Disease Control states that every day in the United States, 30 people are killed in alcohol-related vehicle accidents. Odds are, you or someone you know has been impacted by a drunk driving incident. If you have been injured in a car wreck with an intoxicated driver, you should consider speaking with a personal injury attorney who can help you get the compensation you deserve. Taylor King offers a free consultation to every client; call today at 1-800-227-9732 to speak with us.
DWI vs. DUI
You might be wondering about the difference between a DWI and a DUI charge. Arkansas uses the term DWI to refer to an adult who has a BAC greater than 0.08. A DUI, on the other hand, refers to an underage (younger than 21) driver with a BAC between 0.02 and 0.08.
Penalties in Arkansas for a DWI Charge
There is a difference between the the criminal charges a DWI driver will face, and the penalties imposed by the Department of Finance and Administration. For someone’s first DWI, their license will be suspended for 6 months. For each subsequent DWI in a 5-year period, that suspension increases. If they receive 4 DWI charges within a 5-year period, their driver’s license will be permanently revoked.
The driver will also face criminal charges. To give you an idea of how serious a DWI charge is, it cannot be dismissed. The defendant must either enter a guilty plea, or be found not guilty by trial. Penalties in Arkansas for a first offense can include up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Again, the jail time and monetary fines increase substantially for subsequent DWI charges in a 5-year period. For more specific information, see the Arkansas
You might also be interested to know of two other laws in Arkansas regarding alcohol and driving. The first is the “Implied Consent Law.” This means that by driving a vehicle, you are implying your consent to a breathalyzer test if you are pulled over. If you refuse to submit to chemical test, you’ll have your license suspended just as if you did show a higher BAC than 0.08. The second, “Actual Control of a Vehicle,” means that you could be charged with a DWI if you are found in a vehicle with the keys in the ignition (and there’s no other sober driver), regardless of whether the vehicle is parked or in drive.
Civil Suits Against Intoxicated Drivers
If you were injured in an accident with a driver who received a DWI, you might want to file a civil suit for the physical and mental damages you suffered. This is separate from any criminal charges the other driver may face. To know how best to proceed, consider speaking with a personal injury attorney who can advise you based on your unique case.