What Happens When You Get a 2nd DUI in Arkansas

A 2nd Arkansas DWI conviction can land you in jail for up to one year and up to $3,000 in fines.
Written by Mary Alice Morris
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
, 34 of its 75 counties are “dry counties,” meaning the sale of alcohol is prohibited. It’s no surprise, then, that they take inebriated driving very seriously and attach stiff consequences if you’re convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI). In fact, if you get a second DWI conviction within five years of the first one, you’ll spend a minimum of seven days in jail.

What is a 2nd offense DUI in Arkansas?

The legal term for driving under the influence in Arkansas is “
driving while intoxicated
,” abbreviated as DWI, but it can be used interchangeably with DUI. 
In Arkansas, you can be charged with a DWI in the following circumstances:
  • You’re 21 or older and are operating a motor vehicle or boat while intoxicated or with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.
  • You’re younger than 21 and are operating a vehicle with a BAC of 0.02% or higher.
  • You’re driving a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04% or higher.
If you’re convicted of a
first DWI in Arkansas
, you’ll be sentenced anywhere from one day to one year in jail. If there’s a child younger than 16 with you at the time of the offense, you’ll get a mandatory minimum seven-day sentence. You’ll also face anywhere from $150 to $1,000 in fines
After one conviction, if you go five years without another DWI charge, your driving record is cleared. If you get a DWI charge after the five-year mark, then it is considered a first offense rather than a second offense. 
However, if you get a second DWI charge within the five-year window, it will be considered a second offense, with much steeper fines and longer jail sentences.
Key Takeaway: Arkansas has a five-year lookback period, which means if you get a DWI within five years of a prior DWI conviction, it counts as a second offense. 
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What is the punishment for a 2nd DUI in Texas?

If you rack up two DWI convictions within five years in Arkansas, you’re facing a second offense that’s punishable by a minimum of seven days in jail. However, you could be sentenced to as much as one year.
You’ll also be fined between $400 to $3,000, and if a child under 16 was with you for the second offense, you’ll spend at least 30 days in jail. You’ll also have your
license suspended
for two years
If you get a third DWI conviction within five years, you’re at serious risk of felony charges. After the third DWI conviction in a five-year period, any other DWIs can be prosecuted as felony offenses for habitually driving while intoxicated.
That means mandatory prison time, starting with a one-year sentence for the fourth DWI offense up to a minimum of five years in prison for the sixth offense. 
MORE: Reckless driving in Arkansas
Key Takeaway: After three DWI convictions in five years in Arkansas, you could be charged with a felony for subsequent DWIs. 

How much does a 2nd DWI in Arkansas cost in the long run?

If you’re convicted of a second DWI offense in Arkansas, you’re potentially facing thousands of dollars lost. Some of it will go to court costs and fines,
mandatory DWI classes
, and expenses for getting around without your own car. Here’s a breakdown of the financial repercussions you might face.

Fees, penalty assessments, and DUI school

For your second DWI conviction in Arkansas, you could be fined as much as $3,000. You’ll also be sentenced to at least seven days in jail. That could mean lost income or even the termination of your employment, resulting in catastrophic financial losses. 
Second-time DWI offenders also have to take a more exhausting DWI class program than first-time offenders. The first time around, the program costs nearly $200, but for the second offense, you’ll pay about $380

Alternative transportation

Your Arkansas driver’s license will be suspended for two years upon your second DWI conviction, which means two years of paying for alternative transportation to get where you need to go. Public transportation, rideshare costs, and taxi fares will add up quickly. 

Increased car insurance costs 

People with DWI convictions end up paying an average of 80% more for car insurance than everyone else. In Arkansas, the average annual cost just for
liability coverage
is $2,297. With a DWI on your driving record, you’ll pay more like $4,134.
MORE: The traffic tickets that have the greatest effect on your car insurance rates
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How to avoid jail time for a 2nd DUI in Arkansas

The best way to avoid jail time for a second DWI in Arkansas is to not get a second DWI in Arkansas. There is no way to plead down to another charge or to have the case thrown out. By state statute, once you’re charged with a DWI in Arkansas, your options are:
  • Plead guilty
  • Plead no contest (not admitting guilt but still accepting a conviction)
  • Plead not guilty and face trial
Whichever you choose, it’s probably a good idea to hire an attorney to guide you through the legal process. 

How to find affordable car insurance in Arkansas after a 2nd DUI

If you have a DWI conviction in Arkansas, the state will require you to purchase
SR-22 insurance
. The SR-22 is a form you get from your
car insurance
company that verifies to the state that you have obtained the
minimum required amount of coverage
. You’ll need it to get your
license reinstated
and to start driving again. 
However, SR-22 coverage is much more expensive than regular coverage. A driver with a record of DWI offenses is considered
high risk
by insurance companies. That means paying higher premiums until you’ve established yourself once again as a low-risk driver. 
If you’re facing your second DWI conviction in Arkansas, or you’re digging your way out of one, you’ve got a lot on your plate. You can make the search for affordable car insurance a little easier on yourself with help from
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trustworthy comparison app
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By state statute, neither the court nor the prosecuting attorney can dismiss a DWI charge in Arkansas. You also have no option to plead down. Instead, you’ll have to face the full charge by pleading guilty, not guilty, or no contest.
Your first DWI will stay on your record for five years. After that, it’s cleared from your record and any following DWI charges are considered a first offense.
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