Arkansas DWI Law and Penalties

If David Whitaker (D) wins the election for the Arkansas House of Representatives District 85, he would like to enact a DWI Battery statute. Under Arkansas DWI law, penalties increase based on the number of DWIs on your record in the past five years, but do not have specific statutes for DWI with injury.

A DWI Negligent Homicide can be charged if the accident resulted in the death of another. DWI Negligent Homicide in Arkansas is a Class B felony with a jail sentence of not less than 5 years and no more than 20 years, with a fine no more than $15,000.

Arkansas’s Act 262, which passed in March 2011, will allow for misdemeanor DUI and DWI convictions to be expunged after five years since the completion of the DWI sentence.

Since Arkansas has a five year rule when considering a DWI record, one woman has 10 DWI convictions on her record, but since her last conviction was in 2007, her 11th DWI would be treated as her first.

Arkansas DWI Penalties Overview

  • 1st Offense: 1 day to 1 year in jail. $150-$1,000 in fines.
  • 2nd Offense: 7 days to 1 year in jail. $400 to $3,000 in fines. Minimum 30 days  community service possible in lieu of jail.
  • 3rd Offense: 90 days to 1 year in jail. $900 to $5,000 in fines. Minimum of 90 days community service possible in lieu of jail.
  • 4th Offense (felony): 1 year to 6 years in prison. $900 to $5,000 in fines. 1 year minimum community service possible in lieu of jail.
  • 5th Offense or more (felony): 2 years to 10 years in prison. $900 to $5,000 in fines. 2 years minimum community service possible in lieu of jail.

Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) charges have a 3 year look back period, meaning offenses in the last three years are considered as part of your record. A 1st BWI can be punishable by 1 year in jail and a fine between $250-$1,000. A 2nd BWI in 3 years is punishable by 2 days to 1 year in jail, a fine between $500-$1,000, and a mandatory 30 days minimum of community service. A 3rd BWI or more is punishable by 60 days to 1 year in jail and a fine between $1,000 and $5,000.

Washington Initiative 502 Will Set Standard for Marijuana DUI

Washington’s Initiative 502 would allow possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for adults over age 21. The initiative would also allow 16 ounces of solid marijuana infused products or 72 ounces of liquid marijuana, as long as they are purchased in a state-licensed store. It would still be illegal to possess non-medical marijuana that is grown or purchased outside of the state. A provision on Initiative 502 allows for prosecution of drivers who have more than 5 nanograms per milliliter of active THC metabolites in their system. Current law uses the same criminal statute for Marijuana DUI, drug DUI, and alcohol DUI.

Critics of the DUI provision warn marijuana users of how easy it could be to get charged with Marijuana DUI, which would carry significant and serious criminal charges. Washington’s current DUI law is based on implied consent and per se DUI provisions. This means that if you drive on Washington roads, you have already given consent to have your blood or breath tested if you are arrested for DUI, if the officer has reasonable grounds to believe you are impaired.

I-502 will add a per se threshold for THC whereas before there was none. The law will distinguish between THC and THC-COOH. THC-COOH is the inactive marijuana metabolite known as carboxy-THC which can be used under current law to convict drivers of DUI. The initiative would only consider THC concentration in DUI cases.

States with Toughest DUI Penalties

10,228 people lost their lives in 2010 on account of drunk driving. State lawmakers try to tackle this issue with strict DUI laws and penalties. Sometimes states will experience spikes in DUI fatalities, accidents, and injuries, and lawmakers will respond with a crackdown on DUI offenders and pass stricter laws and add harsher punishments. The following is a snapshot of the states with the toughest DUI penalties in the nation.


Arizona made some big changes to their DUI laws on January 1, 2012. Some may be surprised to find out that if you are charged with your first DUI (non-extreme) in Arizona, you are not entitled to a jury trial.

Work release in Arizona increased to 6 days a week, 12 hours a day. Work release is a program where a person is permitted to be released from jail but only long enough to fulfill employment or studies, and a strict curfew is implemented to ensure that these privileges are very limited.

Arizona has a graduated penalty system based on BAC. A driver with a BAC above .15 can be charged with Extreme DUI, and if the driver’s BAC exceeds .20 then they can be charged with Super Extreme DUI. A Super Extreme DUI has a minimum jail sentence of 45 days, compared to just one day for a basic DUI charge.

A first time offender is often required to use an ignition interlock device for at least 6 months. For a first DUI, the fines can include a base fine of $250, an Arizona DUI Surcharge of $200, an Arizona Xtra DUI Assessment of $500, a Prison Construction Assessment of $500, and the additional required maintenance fees of the use of the ignition interlock device.

Maricopa County, Arizona operates male and female chain gangs, and now has a new anti-DUI chain gain made up of inmates serving sentences for DUI after entering the county illegally. The chain gangs wear pink shirts and clean the downtown Phoenix area.


A first time DUI offender in Georgia must spend 24 hours in jail, and may ultimately face up to a year in jail. The fines range from $600 to $1,000. Mandatory DUI School and mandatory alcohol evaluation can be ordered, the driver’s license can be suspended by the court for 12 months, and 40 hours of community service may be required.


Florida charges drivers with higher blood alcohol levels with tougher penalties. A first-time DUI offender with a BAL above .15 is required to use an ignition interlock device for 6 months, pay up to $2,000 in fines, and spend a maximum of 9 months in jail. Any first-time DUI offender can have their license suspended for up to one year, and can be required to complete 50 hours of community service.

What Are California’s DUI Penalties for Multiple Convictions?

Bobby Brown has been arrested for suspicion of DUI, which is his second arrest for DUI in the San Fernando Valley in six months. California’s DUI penalties often include fines, jail time, license suspension, and alcohol treatment programs.

For the first DUI charge, Brown was placed on three years of summary probation and ordered to complete a three-month alcohol education program. This is typical of California DUI penalties, which will usually require three years of informal probation, a fine up to $2,000, a period of license suspension, and a requirement of a 4-month alcohol class for a first DUI conviction.

Brown’s first DUI was in Florida in 1996, but California has a ten year “look back” period, which means the Courts will review only this time period for determining your punishment. Since Brown’s 1996 DUI was over ten years ago, his arrest for DUI in March is counted as his first.

A second-time DUI in California can face a two year license suspension, mandatory jail time up to 60 months, and an 18-month alcohol class.

A third DUI in California can be penalized with a three year driver’s license suspension, an 18 month alcohol class, and mandatory jail time of at least 120 days.

MADD and State Farm Team Up to Prevent Teenage Drinking

Red Ribbon Week started as an awareness campaign to reduce the demand for illegal drugs, and eventually expanded to include alcohol, tobacco, and violence. This week, MADD is teaming up with State Farm for Red Ribbon Week to discuss the negative consequences of teenage drinking. The team are handing out a booklet called The 411 on Teen Drinking.

The 411 on Teen Drinking is backed up with research on the prevalence of teenage drinking and the negative effects that drinking can have, especially on teens. Since the brain is still developing in the teenage years, teens who participate in excessive drinking can suffer long-term cognitive side effects. Teenagers who binge drink will score more poorly on verbal and nonverbal memory, attention focusing, and exercising spatial skills when compared to their non-drinking counterparts.

In addition to the negative health consequences of drinking, the booklet also discusses serious legal ramifications, such as what can happen if a teenager is caught drinking and driving. In addition to losing the freedom provided by a driver’s permit, teenagers can seriously affect their future opportunities by receiving a DUI early in life. Certain colleges will not admit to applicants with a DUI on their record, and jail and probation is a likely consequence as well.

According to research by Dr. van der Vorst of Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands, parents who try to teach their teens drinking in moderation at home does not correlate with teens practicing moderation when they are out of their parents’ sight. The research shows that the more teenagers are allowed to drink at home, the more they will also drink outside of the home.

The 411 on Teen Drinking will be distributed to schools throughout the country during Red Ribbon Week. MADD National President Jan Withers said, “When it comes to underage drinking, teens may feel like ‘everyone is doing it,’ but the truth is that only one out of five teens binge drinks — which means four and of five don’t.”

Volusia Uses DUI Court Program for Hardcore Offenders

17 members of a new Florida DUI Court Program watched as Roger Gilb, a man with no criminal record, was sentenced for DUI manslaughter for the deaths of two people on a motorcycle. The man had no previous criminal record. The point of the program is to show DUI offenders what could happen to them and let the reality of their offense sink in.The DUI Court started in Volusia this April and was started with the help of County Judge Belle Schumann. After the sentencing of the man charged with DUI Manslaughter, Judge Schumann said of the new group, “I know everybody is thinking, ‘There but for the grace go I.'”

Gilb’s blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit when the accident occurred that caused the deaths of Nina Hargis and Gregory Stanley. The selective DUI Court Program is for offenders whose BAC was .15% or higher, or who have a previous DUI conviction.

To participate in the program, the offenders are required to a much higher level of monitoring, and they must attending at two DUI sentencings.

One of the participants at Gilb’s sentencing said, “It shook me up. I felt like it was me. I felt compassionate toward him. Thank the Lord I’ve been protected enough, I never did that.”

Illinois DUI Law, DUI Convictions to Fund DUI Prevention

Illinois’ history of DUI legislation follows the course of most states, from changing the limit for driving impairment to .08% and enacting Child Endangerment Laws that enhances penalties for DUI drivers with minors in their vehicles. DUI arrests are going up, laws are becoming more fine-tuned and stricter, and overall the nation’s traffic fatalities are going down. The most recent changes to Illinois law has to do with how to fund DUI prevention programs, and a new law is allowing funds from DUI convictions to be funneled toward those programs. Here is an overview of the highlights of Illinois’ change in drunk driving legislation over the years:

BAC Changes Over the Years

In 1958, Illinois established the illegal BAC limit as .15%, and just nine years later in 1967 lowered the state’s illegal limit down to .10%. It would be 30 more years before Illinois changed the illegal BAC limit to .08%.

Many New DUI Laws in the last ten years

The 2000s saw the most changes to Illinois drunk driving legislation, with at least 6 changes made to Illinois DUI law in just the last year. Effective January 1, 2012, a driver arrested for DUI could have their vehicle impounded and be charged administrative fees for that vehicle’s impoundment. The vehicle could be handled by the municipality in any way it saw fit if the vehicle went unclaimed.

Another recent DUI law passed in 2012 related to school bus drivers. The employers of school bus drivers may request a blood or alcohol test if there is reasonable suspicion that the employee may be under the influence.

Tougher DUI Penalties

Milestones in Illinois DUI law include the establishment of the Zero Tolerance Policy, passed in January 1995, which states that any driver under age 21 with any trace of alcohol or drugs in their system will automatically lose their driving privileges. In January 1993, Illinois established the Child Endangerment Law, which set tougher penalties for drivers convicted of DUI who had a passenger 16 or younger in the vehicle.

In January 1986, the Crime Victims Bill of Rights was expanded to include DUI victims, and that same year the Statutory Summary Suspension Program was put into place which allowed for the automatic suspension of a person’s driver’s license if they refused to submit to or failed a chemical test after a DUI arrest.

Most Recent and Far-Reaching DUI Legislation

In January 2004, Illinois passed a law which made it illegal for anyone to operate a watercraft or snowmobile while under the influence. Since January 2009, the state of Illinois has required even first-time DUI offenders to use a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) and any vehicle they drive must also be equipped with a BAIID.

In August 22, 2012, House Bill 5021 was signed, which allows funds received from DUI convictions to go to local law enforcement agencies for alcohol-related crime prevention and enforcement, sparking a debate about whether this will create a financial incentive for police to stop drivers in cases that could have questionable probable cause.

DUI Laws May Help Decline in Traffic Deaths in Virginia

The rate of traffic fatalities and severe injuries resulting from auto accidents is on the decline in Virginia, according to new State figures tracking fatalities from 2007 to 2010. Among the contributing factors to this decline is increased seat belt use, stricter licensing for younger drivers, and new DUI laws.

There were 1,026 traffic deaths in 2007, 821 in 2008, 756 in 2009, and 739 in 2010. Similarly, severe injuries fell from 19,796 to 11,664 from 2007 to 2010.

As of October 19, 2012, there have been 608 traffic-related deaths in Virginia.

Connie Sorrell is with the Virginia Department of Transportation and believes that the numbers are still too high. She believes that new initiatives with specific aims to reduce a secondary crash and the scene of a wreck would help reduce the numbers. To do so, representatives of local law enforcement agencies are training to clear crash scenes faster to avoid a secondary collision.

On July 1, 2012, Virginia enforced stricter DUI laws concerning ignition interlock devices. The new law states that it is mandatory for a driver convicted of any DUI or DWI, regardless of BAC, to use an interlock device for a minimum of six months. Virginia’s new DUI laws with stricter use of ignition interlock devices is a trend being seen across the country.

Double Penalties for DWI Offenders with High BAC in Bexar County

Bexar County has doubled the maximum penalty for drivers whose BAC is nearly twice the legal limit. Under the new law, first-time DWI offenders with a BAC .15% or higher will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine up to $4,000. A high BAC of .15% is more than double the legal limit of .08%.A first offense was previously a Class B misdemeanor, which was punishable by up to 6 months in jail, and a fine of $2,000.

The changes to the law were pushed through the Texas House by Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio. He said, “We took a more serious approach for people who are clearly not social drinkers. Sending these people to court and giving them probation and other alternatives doesn’t solve the issue.”

On weekends, Bexar County has a “no refusal” policy. A no refusal means that those suspected of DWI can have their blood forcibly drawn if they refuse to submit to a chemical test. This policy was put in place by District Attorney Susan Reed, whose office arranges for nurses to be available to do blood draws of DWI suspects when an officer obtains a search warrant.

The no refusal initiatives were originally an occasional policy used in 2008, but this year the program was expanded to every weekend. District Attorney Susan Reed has said that she would like the policy to be implemented daily.

Last Call: DWI Penalties May be Displayed in NJ Establishments with Liquor Licenses

A proposal to require all bars and restaurants with liquor licenses to display DWI penalties in restrooms, entrances, and exits has been introduced by Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande. The bill, A-3463, includes a $50 fine to establishments that would fail to post the notices of DWI penalties.

Casagrande, R-Monmouth said, “This is a last call to stop drunk driving. Those who drink tend to need a restroom and this would give them a final reminder on the way out the door before doing something incredibly stupid like getting behind the wheel.”

Assemblywoman Casagrande pushed for a DWI bill in June 2012 that would significantly increase DWI penalties in New Jersey, including up to 18 months in jail for a 2nd DWI offense, adding an additional year of imprisonment to the previous law.

New Jersey has tough penalties for drunk drivers, and the notices that could go up in establishments would include penalties such as a $400 fine, 30 days of imprisonment, a 3-month license suspension, 12 hours in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, and an automobile insurance surcharge of $1,000 for three years for a first offense DWI.

Casangrande said, “One piece of paper displaying the severe consequences of driving drunk might spare a person from going to jail and losing their license, and more importantly, save another person’s life.”