Understanding how drunk driving charges work in Arkansas may help you decide what to do after you or a loved one suffers injuries in a crash caused by a motorist charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence while underage (DUI). Having DUI and DWI in Arkansas explained to you by a personal injury attorney will ensure you understand your rights and what you need to do to secure compensation.
Understanding Arkansas’ Two Primary Drunk Driving Laws
Unfortunately, DWI crashes occur all too often in Arkansas. A three-year BuyAutoInsurance.com study recently found that the state had the seventh-highest rate of fatal crashes involving a drunk driver. There were 500 fatal collisions during the study period where at least one driver was drinking, equating to almost six DWI deaths per 100,000 residents.
Unlike many states, Arkansas has two separate drunk and drugged driving laws—one for adults ages 21 and over and one for underage drivers:
- Ark. Code § 5-65-103: A DWI occurs when a motorist has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or more or is otherwise driving while intoxicated.
- Ark. Code § 5-65-303: A DUI occurs when an underage driver has a BAC of 0.02 to 0.08. If a breath, blood, or urine test finds their BAC at 0.08 or above, they will likely face DWI charges.
Consequences of a DWI or DUI
A DWI is typically a much more serious offense than a DUI, especially when the drunk driver causes a collision that injures someone. Those convicted of a DWI could face:
- Jail time
- Driver license suspension
- Community service
- Mandatory drug or alcohol assessment or treatment 0
If the driver has a previous DUI, DWI, or another alcohol-related offense, they could face increased consequences. However, the judge will have discretion during sentencing based on the facts of the case.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-537-8185
What Happens When a Drunk Driver Causes a Fatal Accident in Arkansas?
A drunk driver who causes a fatal collision in Arkansas will also likely face additional charges—often negligent homicide under Ark. Code § 5-10-105.
Negligent homicide can occur in several ways under this code. One is defined as negligently causing the death of another person while operating a vehicle while intoxicated. The vehicle could be a car, truck, motorcycle, or watercraft.
In Arkansas, negligent homicide caused by drunk or drugged driving is a Class B felony. A sentence for this conviction could lead to five to 20 years behind bars and a fine of $15,000.
Criminal Versus Civil Cases After an Arkansas Drunk Driving Accident
DWI and DUI refer to the potential criminal charges that an impaired driver could face after a traffic stop or crash. In addition, if you suffered injuries in an incident caused by that driver, you might also have a civil case against them.
While a criminal case will penalize them for breaking the law and may give you a sense of justice, it will not help pay for your medical care, make up for lost income, or repair your vehicle. To recover these damages, you must pursue a civil case.
A civil case generally takes the form of an insurance claim filed against the at-fault driver’s auto liability policy. However, a personal injury lawsuit is sometimes necessary. You do not have to prove that the driver was drunk or otherwise impaired to recover compensation in a civil case. You only need to show they acted negligently and caused the crash.
Working with a Car Accident Attorney After an Arkansas Collision
If you sustained injuries or a loved one lost their life in a drunk driving accident in Arkansas, working with a personal injury law firm could make pursuing damages easier. Most firms work based on a contingency fee, so you pay no upfront fees while a car accident attorney handles these tasks:
- Investigating what happened
- Following the criminal case against the driver
- Gathering evidence
- Proving negligence
- Developing support for your insurance claim
- Preparing all paperwork
- Negotiating with the insurer on your behalf
- Reaching an appropriate settlement agreement or suing the driver
Most accident victims have three years to sue or reach a settlement under Ark. Code Ann. § 16-56-105. However, exceptions could alter this timeline, and you may have less time to take legal action.
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The Morris Bart law firm provides free case evaluations for car accident victims injured in drunk driving crashes. We also pursue wrongful death damages for clients. The areas we serve include all of Arkansas. Our case results demonstrate our dedication to recovering compensation for those hurt in these accidents. We may be able to help you, too.
Call (800) 537-8185 to speak with one of our car accident attorneys for free today.
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