Fatal Drunk Driving Accident in Arkansas Leaves Two First Responders Injured
A fatal drunk driving accident in Arkansas earlier this month left two members of an ambulance crew seriously injured and claimed the life of an intoxicated automobile operator. The crash happened on Interstate 40 near Little Rock Arkansas at around 5 AM on the morning of March 1st.
A car, operated by a local woman, was traveling at speed the wrong way down I-40 when it crashed head-on into the ambulance. The driver was killed instantly. Chemical testing after the crash revealed that the woman had a Blood Alcohol Content level of 0.164—twice the legal limit in Arkansas.
Arkansas’ DWI Law
Under state law, a person with a Blood Alcohol Level of 0.08% is considered legally intoxicated. Operating a motor vehicle with such a level of alcohol in the system is considered a crime even if no other infractions are noted. This BAC stipulation applies to operation of every motorized vehicle including motorboats.
(There is an exception to this law for drivers under the legal drinking age of 21. In such cases a motor vehicle operator with a BAC of just 0.02% is considered legally intoxicated.)
Criminal Penalties for DWI/DUI in Arkansas
Under Arkansas law, a DWI/DUI conviction could be considered a misdemeanor if the individual hasn’t had any other convictions in the past five years. In such cases, the driver could be facing several days’ worth of jail time as well as fines and license suspension.
However, if a driver does have prior convictions, a DWI/DUI conviction in Arkansas, they could be facing much stiffer penalties.
Criminal penalties for second offenses include:
- Between 7 days and 1 year in jail (with a minimum of 30 days if a minor is present at the time of arrest)
- Between $400 and $3,000 fines
- Minimum of 30 days of court-sanctioned community service
Criminal penalties for third offenses are much stricter because the actions of the responsible party demonstrate a repeated neglect for the law and the physical safety of others.
- Between 90 days and 1 year in jail
- Between $900 and $5,000 in fines
- Minimum of 90 days of community service
Of course, these penalties assume that there are no other crimes associated with the DWI offense. They also assume that there has been no property damage or physical injuries incurred as a result of the operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
Bars, Restaurants, and Convenience Stores Can Be Held Liable
The law allows victims of drunk driving accidents in Arkansas to hold the establishment which served or sold alcohol to an intoxicated individual who caused an accident legally liable. Indeed, these establishments not only have a right to refuse service to an individual they suspect may be intoxicated but also have a legal and moral duty to do so. If they fail in that and victims can prove that their inaction directly contributed to the crash, these individuals and businesses can be held at least partially liable for the monetary compensation of victims.
In the particular case mentioned above, it may be almost impossible to prove that liability. Indeed, investigators have video surveillance from inside the bar which served the driver. However, it’s impossible to say how much the individual consumed prior to entering the bar or after leaving.
A Drunk Driving Accident Attorney in Arkansas is Your Best Ally in a Crisis
If you’ve been injured by a drunk driver in Arkansas, having an attorney represent you is likely the best way to get the financial compensation you deserve. Such legal professionals have the resources to get the evidence you need to prove liability—against at-fault parties—and know how to present that evidence in such a way to get you the compensation you deserve.
If you’ve been injured by an intoxicated motor vehicle operator, contact the Pfeifer Law Firm today. Call 501-374-4440 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. There is no charge for the consultation, and you don’t owe us until we recover for you.