Friday, June 21, 2024

DUI News Blog

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Arkansas Increases “Look Back” Period for DWI Charges.

On July 28, 2021, the Arkansas legislature effected a wide-reaching change to the state’s DWI law.

Most notably, the “look-back” period for misdemeanor DWI charges, A.C.A. 5-65-111, was increased from five to ten years. For sixth offense DWI charges, the look-back period is now twenty years–a full two decades. The waiting period to seal or expunge old misdemeanor charges was similarly increased.

In Arkansas, DWI 1st through 3rd offense are all misdemeanor charges. This recent change fully doubled the time during which a person’s prior misdemeanor charge can be used against him on a subsequent misdemeanor DWI.

Curiously, however, the legislature did not amend or alter the law regarding the look-back period for fines and driver control suspensions. The look-back period for those purposes was left at five years.

That means that a hypothetical defendant could have a felony DWI #4 (based on 3 priors each from 9 years ago) and be looking at 1 year in prison minimum but only up to $1,000 fine (only a 1st within 5 years), and only a 6 month driver’s license suspension (with the possibility for a restricted license to continue driving).

Thankfully, many prosecutors are sympathetic to what a ridiculously rolled out change this has been. Arkansas was already a very strange place for DWI charges, where prosecutors are stripped of their power to dismiss or reduce DWIs to lower level offenses. With this change, the legislature has effectively turned the maze into a labyrinth.

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Brannen Payne

Brannen Payne

Payne Law Firm gets MEDIEVAL with the government so that our clients can get back to life in the present. Brannen has helped thousands of people fight their DWI charge and Win Fantastic Results across Arkansas. I founded Payne Law Firm, DWI Defense, to provide focused and personalized representation on DWI cases throughout Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley. My firm is exclusively focused on DWI and criminal defense, and its core value is to serve clients by providing a personal and familiar guide through the criminal defense process.

3 Responses

  1. I’ve caught a dwi back in 2018 and found out in 2021 that The law has changed to 10 years. I also found out that applies to people like myself that caught it before 2021 which is sickening. So no matter how much I’ve done to stay clean and do the right thing, My years of not having a good stable job is stretched out now. This is not what anyone was aware of that got the charge before 2021. This needs to be resolved immediately!

  2. i was charged with a.c.a. 5-65-122 in 2022 that law was repealed in 2015, i was ajudicated on the repealed law in traffic courtand it was bound over to circuit court. i fild a motion saying that the court lacked jurisdiction because i was ajudicated on a repealed law and that because the traiffic court did ,nt have jurisdiction then the circurt court can,t have jurisdiction also please look into this matter and advise . thank you edward lockhart’

    1. Mr. Lockhart, unfortunately, but for obvious reasons, this website is not designed to provide legal advice for specific cases. I strongly recommend that you have your lawyer pursue this matter to your satisfaction. If you are representing yourself, you may call my office and I will be happy to refer you to some good Arkansas DUI defense lawyers. I wish you the best of luck, Steve Oberman

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