Someone accused of a driving while intoxicated (DWI) offense in Arkansas may have gotten into a crash or possibly failed a breath test during an otherwise standard traffic stop. Regardless of the situation that led to someone’s arrest, the consequences that they face can be quite serious.
Many defendants accused of a DWI infraction in Arkansas decide to plead guilty as soon as they get arrested, as they think doing so will reduce their consequences. It is a common misconception among criminal defendants that guilty pleas to so-called victimless crimes like DWI offenses often result in minimal sentences.
However, many judges impose harsh consequences because drunk drivers can kill people or leave them severely injured. It is also an offense with a high rate of people re-offending. Bigger penalties can serve as a deterrent to drinking and driving again. What are the three most common criminal consequences for a DWI charge?
1. Large fines
For someone accused of a first-time DWI offense, the fine involved could be as little as $100. However, repeat offenses and special circumstances can increase how much of a fine someone has to pay. Whether they caused a crash or had an exceptionally high blood alcohol concentration, judges may increase the penalties they assess to as much as $5,000.
2. Jail time or community service
Depending on the circumstances, a judge may have no choice but to sentence someone to a term of incarceration. Other times, they can use their own discretion when deciding if someone should spend time in state custody. A first DWI in Arkansas can lead to up to a year in state custody, or a judge could order 30 days of community service. Later offenses could lead to up to 10 years in prison.
3. Driver’s license suspensions
When someone has demonstrated a willingness to violate traffic safety laws, they could pose a threat to others on the road. As such, a DWI offense in Arkansas typically results in a licensed suspension. First-time charges could lead to someone losing their license for six months, but repeat offenders could face 30 months without a license.
There are many secondary consequences of a DWI charge, including professional licensing issues, increased insurance costs and the damaging impact of a criminal record. Fighting back against DWI charges can help you eliminate the possibility of a serious criminal penalty for those charges.