DWI is a serious charge, and people have serious misconceptions about what goes into a DWI case. Keep in mind this information applies to the State of Arkansas. There are 75 counties in Arkansas and more than 75 District Courts within these counties. Certain areas have local rules that may or may not be technically statutorily acceptable in some circumstances. If our clients are harmed by a local policy, this often requires an appeal to Circuit Court.
Let’s start with the law. Arkansas Code 5-65-101 is referred to as the “Omnibus DWI Act.” This is the law that explains there are two main ways to be convicted for DWI. The first is the most common, it is blowing above a .08% BAC (Blood Alcohol Content). This test must be performed at the police station on a certified and calibrated machine. If the State can show you blew higher than that amount, the State need not prove you were actually intoxicated. You may also be convicted a second way. If the State demonstrates you were impaired either via drugs or alcohol, the State can prosecute you for DWI without a valid BAC test.
The Omnibus DWI Act includes language which the Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD) organization lobbied heavily for that does not allow the charge of DWI to be amended by plea bargaining. It does not, however, bar a juvenile Driving Under the Influence (DUI) from being amended in plea bargaining. With regard to CDL citations, it depends. Some types of CDL impairment related charges can be amended. Also, if you are charged with a DWI 3 there is a possibility the prosecution would agree to drop this to a DWI 2. That is not expressly forbidden under the law. The period that counts for “stacking” DWI is 5 years in length. If you are charged with a DWI 2 because of a DWI 1 that you had 7 years ago, then the State made a mistake and your attorney should get the charge changed to a DWI 1. This actually happens frequently.
Please feel free to ask any questions via email, and I will make sure they get answered here.