Driving on a Suspended License in Arkansas
The state of Arkansas may suspend or revoke your driving privileges for many reasons, including alcohol-related offenses, poor driving behavior, or criminal convictions. If you drive with a suspended or revoked license, you may be charged with a crime that comes with the possibility of jail time, fines, and further revocations or suspensions.
Reasons for Revocation or Suspension
The Office of Driver Services may suspend or revoke your license for a range of driving or other offenses. Suspension is a temporary withdrawal of your license to drive for a specified period. (Ark. Code. § 27-16-206(a).) Revocation means your license to drive is terminated. (Ark. Code. § 27-16-206(b).) Reasons for suspension or revocation include, but are not limited to, alcohol-related offenses and accumulating points on your record for traffic violations.
Your license may be suspended or revoked for a range of alcohol offenses. They include driving while intoxicated and refusing to submit to a breath test to determine whether you are intoxicated (Ark. Code § 5-65-402 (a)(1)(A).) In addition, drivers younger than age 21 who are charged with driving with a blood alcohol content greater than .02 may have their licenses suspended. (Ark. Code §§ 5-65-402 (a)(1)(A).)
Arkansas’ Administrative Point System assigns points to various traffic violations, such as speeding or reckless driving. (Ark. Reg. 2-27-16-907 (a)(4).) If you accumulate more than 14 points, your license may be suspended. (Ark. Reg. 4-27-16-907 (a)(4).)
Other reasons for suspension or revocation
Your license may be suspended or revoked for other reasons, including but not limited to:
- the Office of Driver Services finding that you are habitually reckless or negligent when you drive
- being the driver in a crash involving injury, death, or significant property damage, or
- allowing your license to be used illegally, commit fraud when you apply for a license, use a fake or altered license, or you use someone else’s license. (Ark. Code. § 27-16-907 (1).)
In addition, the office may revoke your license if you are in the United States illegally. (Ark. Code § 27-16-907(2)(A).)
How Suspension or Revocation Works
The time period of your suspension or revocation depends on factors such as the reason for the suspension or revocation and whether you have previous offenses or convictions. Driving while intoxicated, for example, carries a 120-day license suspension for the first offense and a 24-month suspension for a second offense within five years. (Ark. Code § 5-65-104(2)(A-B).)
In some situations, the office must notify you if it suspends or revokes your license. (Ark. Code § 27-16-907(e)(1).) You may request a hearing within 20 days after you receive notice. (Ark. Code § 27-16-907(e)(2).) In some cases, such as a points-based suspension, a hearing will be automatically scheduled. (Ark. R. 1-27-16-907.)
If you are arrested for certain alcohol-related offenses, including DWI, police may seize your license immediately and issue you a receipt that will allow you to drive for 30 days, after which a suspension occurs. (Ark. Code § 4-65-402(a)(1).) You may request a hearing within 20 days to review the proposed suspension. (Ark. Code § 4-65-402(a)(1).)
Hardship and Ignition Interlock Licenses
Arkansas drivers whose licenses have been suspended may be eligible for a restricted license that allows them to drive to work, school, or other essential places if they have no other means of transportation. (Ark. Code § 5-65-120.) In some DWI cases, the office may allow drivers to install an interlock ignition device and drive while their licenses are suspended. (Ark. Code § 5-65-104(a)(2).) Interlock ignition devices require drivers to blow into a device to ensure they are not intoxicated before driving. The devices may be required after the suspension period ends. (Ark. Code § 5-65-118(a).)
How to Reinstate Your License
You may reinstate your license after your suspension period ends. If your license is revoked, you may apply for a new license after you become eligible. (Ark. Code § 27-16-206(b).) In addition to any other fees, the reinstatement fee is generally $100 multiplied by each order to suspend or revoke your license. (Ark. Code § 27-16-508.) That means your reinstatement fee may be more than $100 if multiple orders suspended or revoked your license.
Charges for Driving After Suspension or Revocation
You can be charged with a crime if you drive with a suspended or revoked license. (Ark. Code § 27-16-303.) The offense is a misdemeanor that carries a minimum sentence of two days in jail and a maximum sentence of six months in jail. (Ark. Code § 27-16-303.) In addition, you may be fined up to $500 and be given an extended period of suspension or revocation. (Ark. Code § 27-16-303.)
Seeking Legal Help for Driving After Suspension or Revocation Charges
You should consider consulting a lawyer if you are charged with driving after suspension or revocation. As you have learned, the crime can result in jail time, fines, and longer suspension or revocation periods. Your ability to get to work or school or to obtain insurance may be affected. Although the law provides minimum and maximum penalties, in reality your sentence will depend on the attitude toward the charge of judges and prosecutors in your city or county. An attorney who is familiar with these cases in your area is best able to advise you on your charges.