A DWI charge is a serious matter, and the penalties can be significant. While the first three offenses are treated as misdemeanors, they are still treated seriously. Even if you manage to avoid a jail sentence, the license suspension alone can create a number of significant challenges to maintaining a job. More significant felony charges can result in years in prison. To give yourself a formidable defense against these charges, it’s a good idea to work with a Hot Springs DWI lawyer.
At Kevin Lemley Law Partners, we have experience defending these charges and giving our clients a fighting chance, and we can protect your rights as you work through this trying time.
A DWI is charged when you are impaired in operating a vehicle because of alcohol or drugs. This does not mean that there is a requirement for the prosecution to have a chemical test of a certain level if they can show that intoxication was the cause behind an inability to properly operate the vehicle.
However, in most cases, there will be a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test involved. Arkansas is an implied consent state, which means drivers cannot refuse a BAC test. The BAC levels that are considered a “per se” DWI, meaning that you are considered to be driving under the influence regardless of your ability to control the vehicle, are:
The penalties for a DWI in Hot Springs and all of Arkansas are determined based on the previous number of DWI convictions a person has had within the last ten years. The first three offenses in a ten-year period are considered misdemeanors and can be punished with fines, a jail sentence, and license suspensions. The penalties are:
Any DWI offense that is a fourth or more within a ten-year period is charged as a felony, carrying much stiffer sentences and an automatic four-year revocation of the driver’s license. The penalties are:
A: Just what a defense against a DWI will look like depends on the particulars of your situation. Initially, it is possible to see if there may be some reason for the judge to throw the charges out and avoid a trial altogether. There may have been some kind of technical error on the part of the arresting officer that could nullify the charges.
In other cases, it’s possible to challenge whether the officer had any probable cause or reason to pull you over in the first place. Another possible line of defense may be challenging the quality of the evidence against you. There may have been some flaws in the handling of the chemical test. The key to the defense is giving the jury reasonable doubt regarding your guilt.
A: Because a DWI is treated as a criminal offense, you can benefit significantly from working with a criminal defense lawyer in defending against DWI charges. A criminal defense lawyer can help protect the rights you have to a fair trial and against self-incrimination.
They will also conduct a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the charges against you. They do so while, in part, adopting the perspective of the prosecutor in order to prepare for how they will attempt to make their case. Before even going to trial, they may attempt to get the case dismissed, and they may also negotiate a plea deal if you’re interested. If the case goes to trial, they will represent you and argue your defense.
A: An ignition interlock device is a means of checking your BAC before you are able to operate a vehicle and can be required to be installed in some DWI offenders’ vehicles. In most misdemeanor cases, the need for an ignition interlock device will be up to the discretion of the judge. In felony cases, however, the installation of an ignition interlock device is mandatory following the period for which the license is revoked.
A: As with most states, there is an implicit consent law on the books for the state of Arkansas. This means that by the act of driving on an Arkansas road, you are implicitly agreeing to a chemical test if requested. Refusal to do this is treated very seriously and results in a license suspension. You still may be charged with a DWI as well, and the refusal to take the test may be used against you in court.
DWIs are treated as criminal violations in Hot Springs and all of Arkansas. This means that the procedure will follow the criminal prosecution process, and your strongest chance of defending against the violations is by working with a criminal defense attorney.
At Kevin Lemley Law Partners, we understand how the prosecution is going to attempt to prosecute a DWI charge. After investigating your case, we can be prepared to offer a strong defense on your behalf. If you’re facing DWI charges in Hot Springs, contact us today.