Arkansas DWI Laws in 2023: How Much Alcohol Can You Drink and Drive?

Drink and drive laws in Arkansas

The allowable blood alcohol content level (BAC) in Arkansas is 0.08% gram or 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood.

However, a BAC level of 0.02% is followed for drivers under the age of 21. Additionally, you may face penalties if you drive a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.04% or more.

The 0.08% threshold can equal one to two standard alcoholic drinks. However, this quantity varies depending on one’s gender, age, size, and other variables.

Before we get into the details of Arkansas DWI laws, keep in mind that this piece is for informational purposes only. This article is not support or encourage driving while intoxicated in any state or location.

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) or under the influence of alcohol (DUI) is punishable in Arkansas.

Arkansas had 638 drunk driving traffic-related fatalities, according to statistics in 2020. Driving with a BAC level of 0.08% was accountable for 26% of these fatalities.

Arkansas’s state government is striving to combat drunk driving in the state.

As a result, following Arkansa’s permissible BAC level is critical before getting into a vehicle. Take a cab or employ a designated driver if you must travel after drinking.

By visiting the state’s official website, you can be updated with Arkansas’s latest DWI driving rules and regulations.

Legal Blood Alcohol Limit When Driving in Arkansas

In Arkansas, you can face DUI sanctions if your BAC level is higher than 0.08%, 0.04%, or higher for commercial drivers or 0.02% and higher for drivers under 21 years old.

Blood alcohol content may vary for each person because alcohol has different effects on people. Some people may feel disoriented even after consuming a small amount of alcohol.

Your BAC might differ depending on several factors, including

  • your gender
  • your size
  • your mood (including stress and fatigue level)
  • an empty stomach
  • medication intake
  • the rate of alcohol consumption

To discover how much alcohol you can drink before driving, you can use a BAC chart for reference or a BAC calculator to compute it for you. These instruments, however, may not fit everyone since each individual reacts differently to alcohol.

These instruments, however, may not fit everyone since each individual reacts differently to alcohol.

Still, the most accurate way to determine your BAC is to use a reliable alcohol breathalyzer. Make sure to stick to Arkansas law and be within DWI laws.

Punishments for Drinking and Driving in Arkansas

A BAC level of 0.05% increases the chances of getting involved in an accident. The risk increases as the BAC rises.

A comprehensive study revealed that a BAC of 0.05% has considerable impairment and effects on driving ability. Attention, cognition, psychomotor skills, and reflexes were among the skill domains affected.

Each state has its own set of blood alcohol level regulations. Therefore, checking your BAC level before driving is critical to avoid penalties.

Below is an overview of DWI laws in Arkansas to help you understand and comply with the law.

License Suspension

The length of a DWI suspension is determined by how many prior DWI suspensions and convictions the motorist has had in the previous five years (this includes any DWI-related suspension). You may refer to the suspension duration below.

Offense Duration
First offense Six months
Second offense Twenty-four months (if the second offense was within a 5-year timeframe)
Third offense Thirty months (if the third offense was within a 5-year timeframe)
Fourth offense Four years (if the fourth offense was within a 5-year timeframe)

Jail Time

If you are charged with DUI, you could face the following sentences:

Offense Duration
First offense One year to 24 hours jail time (minimum of 7 days if driving with a minor below 16 years old)
Second offense Seven days to one-year jail time (minimum of 30 days if driving with a minor below 16 years old)
Third offense 90 days to one year (minimum of120 days if driving with a minor below 16 years old)

Fines in Arkansas for Violating DWI Laws

The following fines apply if you are found guilty of driving while intoxicated.

  • First offense: A fine of at least $150 but not more than $1,000
  • Second offense: A fine of at least $400 but not more than $3,000
  • Third offense: A minimum fine of $900 but not more than $5,000

Other Programs and Penalties For Violating Arkansas DWI Laws

Administrative DWI “Alcohol” offenses require the completion of the following state statutory conditions before the licensee can be reinstated:

  • Individuals are required to undergo a state-approved drug and alcohol education or treatment program (community service applies at some cases).
  • Individuals must complete a Victim Impact Panel class and provide Driver Control with a completion certificate.
  • Individuals must install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles for the duration of the driver’s license suspension. 
  • A $150 reinstatement fee is required. Payments can be made in person at any State Revenue Office, via mail, or thru Arkansas’s official website.
  • Those holding a “Revoked” license must pass all phases of the Arkansas Driver’s License Exam.

How Many Beers Can You Have and Drive in Arkansas?

Drink beer and drive in Arkansas

Based on the BAC chart, a male weighing approximately 63 kg (140 lbs) can achieve a BAC level of 0.03% after ingesting one 12-ounce (350 ml) beer.

In contrast, a female of the same weight and drinking the same amount of beer can attain a BAC of 0.04%.

The BAC chart shows that the lesser a person’s weight, the higher his BAC after drinking alcohol.

Thus, one to two bottles of beer is usually enough to stay under Arkansas’s DWI laws. One bottle of beer should be enough if you operate a commercial vehicle.

How Much Wine Can You Drink and Drive in Arkansas?

In the same case, two glasses of wine will keep you under Arkansas’s legal BAC limit. A standard glass of wine (142 ml/5oz) can have up to 12% alcohol by volume.

Again, commercial vehicle drivers who have a BAC of 0.04% or above may face penalties. As a result, one glass of wine is enough to protect them from surpassing Arkansas DWI laws.

How Much Whiskey or Vodka Can You Drink and Drive in Arkansas?

One shot of liquor contains 44 ml (1.5 oz) with up to 40% alcohol content. Because of their high alcohol content, consumption of hard liquors can be tricky.

Two shots of whiskey or vodka can raise the blood alcohol concentration of a 63 kg (140 lbs) male to 0.06%.

A woman of the same weight, on the other hand, can have a BAC level of 0.07% after consuming the same quantity.

If you have to drive after drinking, one to two shots of whiskey or vodka should be enough. When driving a commercial vehicle, one shot is preferable as per laws in Arkansas.

Sticking to DWI Laws in Arkansas

All drivers must be aware of the danger of driving while intoxicated. 

The best and safest choice is to avoid driving after drinking. Even though you’ve only had a few beers, you can never be assured of your BAC and driving capacity.

Only a breathalyzer can reliably detect your BAC level because everyone reacts differently to alcohol.

If you are intoxicated, you should consider taking other options for transportation. You might take a cab or Uber or ask a friend to drive for you.

If you cannot avoid driving after drinking, check your BAC level and make sure that it is less than the legal alcohol limit in Arkansas.

We also recommend familiarizing yourself with the DUI/DWI driving laws by visiting Arkansas’s official website.

About the author

Ashley Cresswell

Ashley Cresswell is a former phlebotomist with a passion for road safety. During her time as a phlebotomist, Ashley administered over 1000 blood alcohol tests to impaired drivers and was shocked to discover that many of them were simply uninformed about the legal limits for driving under the influence. As a result, Ashley conducted extensive research on scientific studies and local laws to bring drivers a comprehensive resource on drink and drive limits from around the world.