At Collins, Collins & Ray, we understand that facing a DWI charge is a stressful and confusing experience. Our goal is to provide you with all of the information you need to navigate this complex legal landscape. Whether you’re curious about the consequences of a DWI conviction, the best course of action after an arrest, or how to challenge the charges, our experienced team of attorneys is here to help.
We are dedicated to protecting your rights and we will help you make informed decisions to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Explore our DWI answers, and reach out to us for a consultation. Your future is important, and we’re here to safeguard it.
DWI is a two-part law. This means that you can be convicted under either one of the following two sections of the law:
1. It is unlawful for any person who is intoxicated to operate or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle.
2. It is unlawful for any person to operate or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle if at that time the alcohol concentration in the person’s breath or blood was eight-hundredths (0.08).
This means that the prosecutor only has to prove one of these facts: you were either intoxicated or you had a BAC of .08 or higher. This is how they are able to prove a DWI without a breath alcohol test even if the BAC is lower than .08.
“Intoxicated” means influenced or affected by the ingestion of alcohol, a controlled substance, any intoxicant, or any combination thereof, to such a degree that the driver’s reactions, motor skills, and judgment are substantially altered and the driver, therefore, constitutes a clear and substantial danger of physical injury or death to himself and other motorists or pedestrians.
Our lawyers may use experts on our cases. The experts vary in expense on a case-by-case basis. Many times we will not need an expert because we have the skills necessary to point out the state’s lack of evidence.
Aside from the embarrassment, increased insurance premiums, and possible interference with employment and professional licensure, in Arkansas Courts, you can look forward to:
Jail: Minimum-24 hours; Maximum-1 year
Fines: Minimum-$150; Maximum- $1,000
Court Costs: $300
Classes: Alcohol education class and MADD Victim Impact Panel
Driver’s License: DL suspension for 6 months. You will be eligible for an interlock device. If it is a DWI-Drugs, then you will be eligible for a work permit unless you refused the test in which case you get no driving privilege.
Jail: Minimum-7 days; Maximum-1 year
Fines: Minimum-$400; Maximum-$3,000
Court Costs: $300
Classes: Alcohol Education Course and MADD Victim Impact Panel
Driver’s License: DL suspension for 2 years; eligible for an interlock device.
Yes, the DWI statute defines intoxication as being influenced or affected by the ingestion of alcohol, a controlled substance, any intoxicant, or any combination thereof.
No, but it does matter what the drug is. Many prescribed drugs are not schedule I-VI drugs and therefore, do not fall under the DWI statute. A “Controlled Substance” is a drug, substance, or immediate precursor in Schedules I through VI.
The fact that any person charged with a violation of this act is or has been entitled to use that drug or controlled substance under the laws of this state shall not constitute a defense against any charge of violating this act. This statute includes both legal and illegal drugs. There is currently a debate as to whether a non-controlled substance is classified as an intoxicant. Many police officers arrest people for DWI when the person has taken medication that is not a controlled substance.
We have had mixed results in Courts throughout Arkansas. Our attorneys have justifiably argued (with some success) that the statute is too vague as to the definition of “intoxicant”. The Courts that have disagreed did so by focusing on the client’s level of impairment. Use caution and call one of our Arkansas DWI attorneys for more information.
Ironically, the act of “driving” does not have to be proved by the State in order to convict someone under the driving while intoxicated statute. The law states you must not “operate” or “be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle” if you are intoxicated or have a BAC of .08 or greater.
The Courts have interpreted that to mean having the keys in the ignition, whether the vehicle is running or not. Generally, the police will attempt to prove actual physical control by asking if you have been driving or by other circumstantial evidence. The law has become very muddled regarding this element of the crime.
If you have a specific question, you should contact our office and one of our DWI attorneys can determine if this defense applies to your case. We have successfully defended people charged with DWI by showing that the State could not prove that the client was in actual physical control of the vehicle.
The law does not require the operation of a vehicle on a public roadway. Many people have gotten DWIs on private property. This does, however, raise the issue of whether the police had the authority under Rule 3.1 (probable cause to make a seizure) or 2.2 (approaching for the purposes of investigation while not in custody) to actually make contact with you.
Call our office and speak with a DWI attorney to determine if your specific facts allow for such a defense.
A vehicle is defined as every vehicle that is self-propelled and every vehicle that is propelled by electric power obtained from overhead trolley wire but not operated upon rails. This would include four-wheelers, cars, trucks, golf carts, etc…
Yes and No. State law prohibits the reduction of a DWI to a lesser charge. You must go to trial or plead guilty. Federal law does not have the same prohibition, and in some instances you may be able to plea to a reduced charge. However, almost all of the DWIs in Arkansas are charged under state law, and, as stated above, DWIs are one of the only crimes in which the prosecutors are not allowed to negotiate or reduce the DWI to a lesser charge. This is why it is so important that you hire a lawyer experienced in taking DWIs to trial.
Yes and No. In the past, work permits were often provided to those charged with DWI and allowed to drive only during proscribed hours and only for certain activities such as work, school, and DWI education classes. Current law allows for work permits only in cases of DWI-Drugs and for DUI cases for those under 21 years old. For those charged with DWI alcohol, driving is only allowed after an interlock device has been installed in the person’s vehicle. But, unlike work permits, once the interlock has been installed, there are no restrictions on driving for a first-offense DWI.
There are different requirements for people who drive company cars. Contact one of our DWI attorneys to see how these restrictions may apply to you.
An interlock device is a machine hooked to your vehicle’s ignition that prevents your car from starting if there is a detectable amount of alcohol on your breath. You must first blow into the device to start the vehicle and, then, at randomly announced times, you must blow into the device again to keep the vehicle operating. There are several local companies that install the devices and the price for installation and monthly maintenance vary. A list of the various companies will be given to you by Driver Control when you get your interlock order.
The officer may be able to get a warrant to obtain a blood sample for blood alcohol concentration testing; if no blood is taken, though, the officer will have no evidence of what your BAC was at the time. However, if you do not take the offered BAC test, you will most likely also be charged with Refusal to Submit. Refusal is an additional charge and carries some stiff penalties in addition to those for DWI.
Also, a lack of a BAC level will not prohibit the prosecution from proving that you are guilty of DWI. They will attempt to use evidence from the police officer to prove intoxication. Additionally, the fact that someone refuses to blow can be used as evidence of consciousness of guilt. In other words, the prosecution will tell the judge that the reason you did not blow is that you knew you were over the limit.
No, the mere presence of drugs in your system does not mean you are guilty of DWI Drugs; the State still must prove that you were impaired by the drugs.
Many people today have drugs in their system and function normally. The presence of drugs and the inability to do as well as the officer expects on field tests does not mean you are impaired by the drugs. However, many people are charged under these circumstances.
Sometimes the police will do what is called a DRE (Drug Recognition Expert) exam. It is a process in which the officer looks at your pupil size, takes your blood pressure, checks your temperature, etc. Based on these observations, the officer will give his opinion about the kind of drug he believes you have taken and by which you are impaired.
These exams are not required under the law and, unlike the BAC test, there is no penalty for refusing to take them. Many people still do not understand the complexity of these exams or the problems that can occur during the evaluation. Please call one of our DWI attorneys. We have been trained in the DRE process and will be able to fully explain the 12-step evaluation used by police to charge someone with DWI-Drugs.