Arkansas’ DUI Alcohol Laws and Penalties in 2024

Drink and drive laws in Arkansas

In Arkansas, the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) is set at 0.08%, equivalent to 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood.

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.

What is the Legal Alcohol Limit for Driving in Arkansas?

In Arkansas, the legal alcohol limits for driving vary based on the type of driver’s license and the age of the driver. These limits are set to ensure road safety and to discourage driving under the influence of alcohol. Here’s a breakdown of the legal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limits for different categories of drivers:

  • Regular Drivers: The BAC limit is set at 0.08%. This applies to most drivers operating personal vehicles.
  • Commercial License Holders: For those holding a commercial driver’s license, the BAC limit is lower, at 0.04%, reflecting the increased responsibility of operating commercial vehicles.
  • Drivers Under 21 Years Old: Arkansas enforces a stricter limit for underage drivers. Those who are under 21 years old must adhere to a BAC limit of lower than 0.02%, aligning with zero-tolerance policies for underage drinking and driving.

Drink and Drive Penalties and Punishments in Arkansas

In Arkansas, the consequences for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs are severe and are governed by specific administrative and legal procedures. It’s important to be aware of these penalties, as they can have a significant impact on an individual’s driving privileges and legal standing. Below is a detailed outline of the process and penalties:

Initial Procedure upon Arrest:

  • Upon probable cause for an alcohol or drug-related offense, the arresting officer will issue an Official Driver’s License Receipt and confiscate the individual’s driver’s license. This is in accordance with Arkansas Administrative Law.
  • The individual receives a “Notice of Suspension/Revocation/Disqualification of Driving Privilege Form (ALS),” which contains critical information about the suspension process and rights.

Temporary Driving and Hearing Rights:

  • The individual can temporarily drive for thirty (30) days with the Driver’s License Receipt, provided they had a valid license at the time of arrest.
  • Within seven (7) calendar days, the individual has the right to request an administrative hearing to contest the suspension.
  • An uncontested hearing can be requested to determine eligibility for an interlock restricted license or a restricted permit, depending on the offense.

Suspension Periods for Alcohol Offenses:

  • 1st Offense: 6 months suspension.
  • 2nd Offense: 24 months (if within 5 years).
  • 3rd Offense: 30 months (if within 5 years).
  • 4th Offense: 4 years revocation (if within 5 years).
  • Statutory Reference: § 5-65-205.

Requirements for Reinstatement:

  • Completion of a state-sanctioned Drug and Alcohol Education or Treatment Program, with submission of the completion certificate to Driver Control.
  • Attendance at a Victim Impact Panel class and submission of a completion certificate.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device in the vehicle for a period equal to the suspension, and submission of a “Confirmation of Interlock Requirement” form.
  • Payment of a $150 reinstatement fee, which can be made in person, by mail, or online at
  • For those with a “Revoked” license status, passing all phases of the Arkansas Driver’s License Exam is required.

Given the severity and complexity of these penalties, it’s advisable for individuals to frequently check the official state website for the most current information and updates regarding DUI/DWI laws and penalties in Arkansas.

How to Determine if Your Blood Alcohol Content is Legal in Arkansas

In Arkansas, like in many other states, the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level is a critical measure used by law enforcement to determine if someone is driving under the influence of alcohol. Police typically identify a driver’s BAC level in one of two ways:

  1. Field Sobriety Tests: These are preliminary tests conducted at the scene to assess a driver’s physical and cognitive abilities, indicating possible impairment.
  2. Chemical Tests: These include breathalyzer tests and, in some cases, blood tests conducted at a police station or medical facility to precisely measure the alcohol concentration in the bloodstream.

As an experienced phlebotomist with a decade of experience, I recommend two ways to check your BAC level to ensure it’s within the legal limit:

  1. Use a High-Quality Alcohol Breathalyzer: From my professional standpoint, the BACtrack S80 is a reliable option available in Arkansas. This device offers Professional-Grade Accuracy and is DOT & NHTSA Approved, as well as FDA 510(k) Cleared. Keeping one in your car is advisable, as it can be a handy tool to assess your BAC, helping to prevent impaired driving. Remember, in Arkansas, many people might not accurately judge their BAC levels, leading to unintentional impaired driving.
  2. Utilize a BAC Calculator: I’ve collaborated with other phlebotomists and web developers to create a user-friendly BAC calculator, available online. This tool considers factors like your weight, the amount of alcohol consumed, and the time span over which it was consumed, providing an estimated BAC level.

However, it’s crucial to remember that neither method guarantees 100% accuracy. Both the breathalyzer and the online BAC calculator provide approximate values. They are tools to assist you in making informed decisions about your ability to drive safely, potentially preventing you from driving when your BAC is over the legal limit of 0.08%.

Remember, the safest and most responsible decision is always not to drink and drive. If you’re uncertain about your BAC level, opting for alternative transportation methods such as taxis, rideshares, or designated drivers is the best course of action.

Ways to Avoid Driving with a High BAC in Arkansas

Drink beer and drive in Arkansas

Driving with a high Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is not only illegal but also extremely dangerous. In Arkansas, there are several practical and convenient options to ensure you don’t get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking. Here are some recommended strategies:

  1. Utilize Taxi Apps and Local Taxi Services:
    • Ride-Hailing Apps: Popular apps like Uber and Lyft are widely available and can be a safe and efficient way to get home. These apps are user-friendly and allow you to get a ride with just a few taps on your smartphone.
    • Local Taxi Companies: In Little Rock, consider using services like WNP Xecutive Car Service for a more personalized travel experience. In Fort Smith, WestArk Taxi, LLC offers reliable local taxi services. These local companies provide an excellent alternative to app-based services and support local businesses.
  2. Designated Driver Services:
    • If you have driven to a location and find yourself unable to drive back due to alcohol consumption, designated driver services are a great option. They allow you to get both yourself and your car back home safely.
    • In Little Rock, Village Chauffeur offers such services, ensuring a safe journey home for both you and your vehicle. Similarly, in Fort Smith, Duckie Ride Share provides a responsible and reliable way to ensure you and your car return home safely.
    • A simple online search for “designated driver service” in your specific city or area in Arkansas will yield several options to choose from.

By planning ahead and choosing alternatives to driving after drinking, you not only ensure your safety but also contribute to the overall safety of your community. Whether it’s a night out with friends or a special occasion, these services provide a responsible solution to avoid driving with a high BAC. Remember, safety and responsibility should always be your top priorities when it comes to alcohol consumption and driving.

Sticking to DWI Laws in Arkansas: Sad Statistics

Driving under the influence (DUI) or while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious offense in Arkansas. In 2020, the state recorded 638 traffic fatalities related to drunk driving, with 26% of these due to driving with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. It’s essential to adhere to Arkansas’s legal BAC limit to prevent such tragedies.

Before considering driving, it’s crucial to assess whether you’ve consumed alcohol. If so, opt for safer alternatives like taking a taxi, Uber, or using a designated driver service. The effectiveness of these measures lies in their ability to reduce the likelihood of driving while impaired.

Each individual’s reaction to alcohol varies, making it challenging to self-assess your driving capabilities accurately. A breathalyzer is the most reliable method to determine your BAC level. Even a small amount of alcohol can impair your judgment and ability to drive safely.

Staying informed about the latest DUI/DWI laws and regulations is vital. Regularly visit Arkansas’s official state website for updates and information. Remember, the safest strategy is always to avoid driving after consuming alcohol. Prioritizing safety not only protects you but also safeguards others on the road.

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.