Arkansas DUI Laws

Arkansas DUI laws state that any driver over the age of 21 cannot have a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher. For people under 21, it’s between 0.02% and 0.08%.
Written by Bonnie Stinson
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
DUI laws state that anyone who is driving with a blood/breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or above can be charged with a DWI. Arkansas considers a DUI as applicable to underaged drivers (under 21) who are influenced by intoxicants and have a blood alcohol concentration between 0.02% and 0.08%.
Each year, over 10,000 people in the US are killed on the road as a result of drunk driving crashes.
Driving while under the influence—of alcohol or drugs—is a dangerous crime. Penalties vary by state, but even a first-time offense can cost the driver up to $10,000 in legal fees and fines.
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What is a DUI?

DUI is an acronym that stands for
driving under the influence
whereas DWI means driving while intoxicated or impaired. The state will determine the difference. In Arkansas, DUI is used for underage drivers.
A driver can be charged with a DUI for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and this includes legal drugs like prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs. If you become impaired as a result of taking a substance and then get behind the wheel, you can be charged with a DUI.
Some states use different terms to mean the same thing, like OUI (operating under the influence) or OWI (operating while intoxicated).

DUI in Arkansas

In Arkansas, it is illegal to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of:
  • 0.08% or higher if you’re 21 or older
  • 0.02% if you’re under the age of 21
  • 0.04% if you’re driving a commercial vehicle
These requirements apply to any "motor vehicle," which includes golf carts, ATVs, and riding lawn mowers—even in private parking lots and off-road trails where a
driver’s license
is not required.
Key Takeaway: There is zero tolerance for minors driving under the influence. People under the age of 21 may not carry alcohol inside a vehicle unless a parent is present and the container is unopened, full, and sealed.
Each state has an implied consent law which says that you consent to be tested if an officer suspects you of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
If you are lawfully arrested for a DUI, you are required to submit to a urine, blood, or breath test. Arkansas drivers who refuse to be tested can be penalized with lengthy
license suspensions
or even revocation of their license.
You do not have the right to consult with legal counsel before taking the test.

Penalties for DUI in Arkansas

Penalties for DUIs are stringent and the conviction will remain on your
driving record
for five years.

First conviction

For a DWI (applicable to drivers 21 and older), here are the penalties for a first conviction.
$150 to $1,000 plus $300 court fees
24 hours to one year
License suspension
6 months
Vehicle impoundment
SR-22 requirement
For an underage DUI, here are the penalties for a first conviction.
$100 to $500 plus community service
License suspension
90 days
Vehicle impoundment
SR-22 requirement
The state may require that you complete a DUI program or
defensive driving course
. The length of the program will depend on the severity of your conviction.
The state can also require you to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, which will prevent you from starting the car if there is any alcohol on your breath.

Subsequent convictions

$400 to $5,000
90 days to 1 year
License suspension
One year
Vehicle impoundment
On a 4th conviction
SR-22 requirement
If you are convicted of a DUI again, you will be subject to increased penalties. These could include serious fines (up to $5,000), up to 10 years in prison or two years of community service (for a 5th offense), an ignition interlock device, four-year license revocation, and even forfeiture of your vehicle.
It may be possible for you to obtain a hardship license that permits you to drive when necessary (i.e., to work) if you agree to:
  • Complete the prescribed DUI program
  • Install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle
  • Only drive vehicles that have an ignition interlock device
  • Pay the restriction and
    license reinstatement
    fees to the state
Key Takeaway: Minimum penalties are usually increased if you had a very high blood alcohol concentration or if you were involved in an accident where someone was injured—even for a first conviction.
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Does a DUI impact car insurance in Arkansas?

Yes, insurance companies pay close attention to DUI convictions. You will be classified as a
high-risk driver
With a DUI on your record, expect substantially higher rates than your previous payment.
For very serious convictions—like vehicular homicide—you may need to find an insurance company that can file an
on your behalf. This confirms that you have the
state minimum car insurance required
, and it’s required before you are allowed to drive.

Other effects of a DUI

On top of the penalties and higher insurance rates, you could face additional consequences due to a DUI conviction.
  • License revocation: After a DUI charge, you may have your license revoked if you were charged with other serious offenses—like endangerment.
  • Ignition interlock device: Every state has a version of the ignition interlock program which requires drivers with a DUI conviction to install this device in their vehicle. It can disable your engine if any alcohol is detected on your breath.
  • Background checks: DUIs show up on background checks, which means that future employers may see your conviction, and it could jeopardize your job prospects.

How to find cheap insurance after a DUI

You may find it challenging to lower your current insurance rates with a DUI on record, so the best strategy is to
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