Take a deep breath; I understand it is intimidating and a difficult time for you right now. You’re also going to need it for the breathalyzer or “blow and go.” This is because Arkansas is a guilty until proven innocent state when it comes to DUI/DWI.
A DWI is the most common serious charge that a normally law abiding Arkansan can run into. It is also unique. DWI/DUI cannot be plea bargained to a lesser offense in Arkansas. The consequences for a first offense include mandatory jail time of at least one day and not to exceed one year. Fines are up to $2500 but this does not include fees for the required classes and “blow and go.”
In this article I’ll discuss the administrative side of DWI. In another article, I discuss the criminal aspect of it.
Your license gets taken and replaced with a pink sheet. This gives you permission to drive for 30 days. You must carry it on you. Driving on suspended due to DWI/DUI requires 10 days of mandatory jail in Arkansas.
You only have 10 days from issue to contest the “blow and go.” Don’t just mail in your one copy. Make a copy or have an attorney fax it in for you. Arkansas Driver Control has hearing officers who determine if you can qualify for or are required to have a “blow and go” installed. You can have an attorney present for this hearing. The vast majority of cases require a “blow and go” once your pink sheet expires. This is true even though many clients are found not guilty, because the hearings do not follow a “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard. Certain violations, like two refusals to blow, means they will revoke your license and not even allow a “blow and go.”
You are required to have the “blow and go” in for six months on a first offense. Criminal cases routinely take longer than six months, but it’s possible to get this removed before your case is decided. You have to get screened. I highly recommend going to the court you are charged in on a day the screener is there or the Family Services on Broadway Street in North Little Rock. I’ve never had a court have issue with their documents. They also offer the hardest to schedule required class. It’s a good idea to schedule the class right before your six month “blow and go” time is up. You also have to take a MADD class, but this is easy to schedule at maddvip.org. Once you complete the six months and those two classes, you still have to pay a reinstatement fee to get your license back. This is all before any conviction if you have an attorney fighting the criminal case.
Whoever you hire as a lawyer should be able to help you out with all these administrative issues. I recommend you speak to at least three attorneys. Expect prices to range from $750 to $8000. Price doesn’t assure quality of work – good or bad. We are neither the least nor most expensive and are happy to offer you a free consultation.
Please let me know what part of DWI law you would like to know more about.
Seth L. Bowman
Attorney at Law
Bowman & Lewis, PLLC