DWI in Arkansas and Keeping Your Commercial Drivers License

A common question on our DUI forum is whether or not a drunk driving arrest will be considered a first or second charge. A recent writer asked if their current  DWI in Arkansas would be considered a first DWI because they had not been charged with a DWI in Arkansas since 1997. The writer was also concerned about keeping their commercial driver’s license after their drunk driving arrest.

Due to Arkansas look back laws if you have not been charged with a DWI within the last 10 years than this could be considered your first DWI.  What does this mean for you?  Since your last DWI in Arkansas was in 1997, this will be considered as a first offense DWI.

Here is one word of clarification. In Arkansas, the term DWI is used when referring to drivers who are age 21 and older. The term DUI is used in Arkansas for people who are under age 21.

Penalties for a DWI in Arkansas

 

Does this mean you should not take your DWI arrest seriously? No, a first offense DWI in Arkansas is a serious matter for a commercial driver that could involve monetary fines, loss of your driving privileges and jail time because Arkansas has some of the toughest DWI laws in the United States.

After you are arrested in Arkansas by a police officer, the officer will take your driver’s license and give you an Official Driver’s License Receipt and Notice of Suspension/Revocation of Driving Privilege. If you have a valid Arkansas driver’s license, this Notice will permit you to drive for the next 30 days.

The Notice will let you know that you have 7 calendar days to ask for an administrative hearing. This hearing will determine whether you were intoxicated, had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or refused the BAC test. As a commercial driver, you can be convicted of a DWI with a BAC of .04% or higher.

Loss of privileges driving privileges

 

If you do not submit a request for an administrative hearing within 7 days, your driving privileges as a commercial driver will be suspended. You will also forfeit your right to an administrative hearing.

If you are convicted of a first offense DWI in Arkansas as a commercial driver and your  BAC was over .04%, you will not be able to drive a commercial vehicle for 1 year and 2 points will be added to your driving record. If your BAC is less than .04%, you will be issued an “out-of-service” order that is valid for 24 hours.

You will not be able to drive a commercial vehicle if you are convicted of having a BAC that is higher than .04% while you were transporting hazardous materials, driving while intoxicated or refusing to take a breath test.

You will not be able to drive a commercial vehicle for life if you are convicted of any of these offenses for a second time.

If you are convicted of a first offense DWI in Arkansas, a mandatory ignition interlock device will be installed.

The best thing that you can do is to secure the services of a DWI attorney. Even if you did not request an administrative hearing within 7 days, or you have already been convicted of a first offense DWI, a DWI attorney may be able to help you retain your commercial driver’s license.

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