2024 How Long Does a DWI Stay on Your Record in Arkansas?

Kevin M. Lemley

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a very serious charge, and Arkansas courts aggressively prosecute these cases. There are several penalties after a DWI conviction, including penalties for your driving record and the creation of a criminal record. Many who have had a DWI conviction may ask in 2024, “How long does a DWI stay on your record in Arkansas?”

Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher will result in a DWI charge. DWI is not a minor traffic offense but a criminal charge. It may be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on aggravating factors like an especially high BAC or a DWI that causes an accident and causes bodily injury.

The ideal way to avoid DWI penalties is to work with a Cabot, AR, DWI Defense Lawyer after your arrest.

Points on Your License in Cabot

Different traffic violations in Arkansas can result in penalties, such as fines, and they can also result in points on the individual’s driver’s license. If a driver accrues too many points on their license in a certain period of time, their license will be suspended. For example:

  • Failing to stop for a school bus results in 8 points on a driver’s license.
  • Leaving the scene of an accident is 8 points.
  • Speeding 10 miles per hour or fewer over the speed limit results in 3 points.

DWI License Points

A DWI charge may be 14 to 16 points on your license. This usually results in an automatic license suspension, in addition to the potential penalties you face if convicted. The penalties will only be removed in a short period of time if the DWI charges against you are dropped.

If you receive 14 or more points on your license in a period of 36 months, your license will be suspended, and you must schedule a hearing with the court to have it reinstated. If you don’t schedule a hearing, the license remains suspended. Also, if you receive more than 14 points, your license may be suspended for a longer period of time. You can apply for a restricted license during this time, but one is not always granted.

The points accumulated from a DWI or any driving offense remain on your license for 36 months after the offense. Once 3 years have passed from your DWI, the points on your license will expire, but you will still have a criminal record if you were convicted.

How Long Does a DWI Remain on Your Criminal Record?

Although your driving record may clear after time passes, a criminal record may be permanent. When you are charged and convicted of a DWI, that conviction goes on your criminal record, which then worsens the penalties for any subsequent DWIs that you are convicted for over the next 10 years. Even once those 10 years have passed, however, the charge is still on your record.

There are ways that certain criminal charges can be sealed, which means that the information is still available to those in the criminal court system, but it is restricted from public view. You are also not legally required to disclose the conviction. However, for DWI charges, the process for sealing the charges is more complicated.

Expungement or Sealing of DWIs

Expungement is the common term used for clearing a criminal record, but Arkansas uses the term “sealing” for the criminal records of non-minors. For most misdemeanors, you can apply for record sealing, and the court will grant it unless they see clear and convincing evidence not to seal your criminal record.

For DWI charges, both felonies and misdemeanors, there is a waiting period you have to abide by, which is 5 years following the completion of your penalties. This means that the five-year countdown begins when you have completed any imprisonment penalties, probation time, driver’s educational courses, or other community service. Only then are you eligible to apply for record sealing.

Being eligible does not mean that you will be granted the record sealing. The court will review your unique situation and determine if the conviction will be sealed. If the court finds clear and convincing evidence that the charge should not be sealed, then the request will be denied.

FAQs About How Long Does a DWI Stay on Your Record in Arkansas

How Long Does It Take for a DWI to Come Off Your Record in Arkansas?

Once a defendant in Arkansas has been convicted of a DWI and has finished their sentence of imprisonment, jail time, probation, or community service, a DWI charge will remain on their driving record for 5 years.

However, a criminal charge in Arkansas is permanently on your criminal record unless you are eligible for sealing and expungement. The lookback period for a misdemeanor DWI charge is 10 years, meaning that the charge will count as a prior DWI for 10 years after a conviction. Any DWI within those 10 years is considered a subsequent DWI and will have increased penalties.

How Long Does a DWI Stay on Your Insurance in Arkansas?

Each individual insurance company will have its own policy for looking back at a driving record. Typically, an insurance provider will look back from 3 to 5 years into a driver’s record, but it may look back further for offenses like DWIs. Unless you are eligible to seal a charge in Arkansas, it remains on your criminal record forever, and it could continue to impact your insurance rates.

What Is the Difference Between a DUI and a DWI in Arkansas?

In most cases, a DWI (driving while intoxicated) and a DUI (driving under the influence) refer to the same offense. Some states refer to it as a DUI, while others call it a DWI. Arkansas uses DWI to refer to individuals who operate motor vehicles while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Arkansas statutes do use the term DUI to refer to underage drivers who are convicted of driving under the influence. However, both underage and of-age offenses are typically referred to as DWIs.

What Is the Arkansas State Law for DWI?

In Arkansas, DWI is the offense of driving a car, boat, or other motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more. You can also be charged with a DWI for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, even if you do not have a BAC over the legal limit.

Drivers of commercial vehicles have a legal limit BAC of .04%, and drivers who are under the age of 21 have a BAC legal limit of .02%.

Contact Our Team

If you are trying to manage DWI penalties in Cabot, contact Lemley Law Partners to learn how we can help with sealing your records.

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