Ignition Interlock Laws in Arkansas: A Comprehensive Overview

Ignition interlock devices are designed to prevent intoxicated individuals from operating their vehicles. The implementation of ignition interlock laws in the United States has become increasingly common to combat the menace of drunk driving. Arkansas is one such state that has adopted these laws, implementing its program to ensure the safety of its residents while driving on the state’s roads.

In Arkansas, individuals convicted of a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) offense are often mandated to install and use an ignition interlock device as part of their sentence. This device requires the driver to submit a breath sample before the vehicle can be started, and the vehicle will not start if the measured breath alcohol concentration exceeds the pre-defined limit. The laws in Arkansas aim to improve public safety, reduce recidivism, and prevent alcohol-related accidents and fatalities.

Over the past few years, many states have implemented universal ignition interlock requirements, including Arkansas. Studies have shown that these devices play a crucial role in reducing alcohol-involved crash deaths, as they discourage would-be drunk drivers and act as a preventive measure rather than a punitive one. As a result, ignition interlock laws and their enforcement in Arkansas are a valuable tool in the ongoing effort to reduce the impacts of drunk driving on communities.

Overview of Ignition Interlock Laws in Arkansas

Legal Limitations and Penalties

In Arkansas, the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for driving is 0.08% for adults and 0.02% for drivers under the age of 21. Arkansas has enacted strict ignition interlock laws to prevent drunk driving and enhance road safety. According to the state’s DUI laws, first-time offenders with a BAC of 0.08% or higher are required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicle for six months to a year.

Repeat offenders face more severe penalties. For example, second-time offenders must have an IID installed for two years, while third-time offenders are required to use the device for three years. Additionally, fourth-time offenders may be required to install the device for the rest of their lives, with the possibility of restrictions being lifted after five years.

Failing to comply with these IID requirements can lead to harsher penalties such as longer suspension periods, vehicle impoundment, or even jail time.

How Interlocks Work

An ignition interlock device is an electronic breathalyzer that connects to a vehicle’s ignition system. The driver must provide a breath sample before starting the engine, and the IID will analyze the sample for the presence of alcohol. If the driver’s BAC is below the preset limit set by Arkansas law, the vehicle will start. However, if the BAC is above the limit, the vehicle will not start.

To ensure the driver remains sober during operation, the IID may prompt random retests while the vehicle is in motion. If the driver fails a retest or does not comply with the request, the device will log the event, emit a loud alarm, and flash the vehicle’s lights until the vehicle is turned off. This provides a strong deterrent for those attempting to drive under the influence.

A study conducted in northeast Arkansas has shown that the use of ignition interlock devices has significantly reduced the rates of drunk driving and has increased overall road safety.

Mandatory Interlock Installation Process

In Arkansas, Ignition Interlock Device (IID) laws are in place to help prevent drunk driving by mandating the installation of these devices for certain alcohol-related offenses. The mandatory interlock installation process requires compliance from both first-time and repeat offenders. In this section, we will discuss the processes for both categories.

First Time Offenders

In the state of Arkansas, first-time offenders, with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, are required by law to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle upon conviction. The installation process includes the following steps:

  1. Obtain a court order: The court will issue an order mandating the installation of an IID as part of the offender’s sentencing.
  2. Choose an authorized IID provider: Offenders must select a state-approved provider to install the interlock device in their vehicle.
  3. Schedule and complete installation: Offenders are responsible for contacting the provider, booking an appointment, and getting the device installed.
  4. Attend regular maintenance: Offenders must meet with their interlock provider for routine maintenance and recalibration, typically every 60 days.

Repeat Offenders

For repeat offenders, the IID installation process becomes even more stringent. In addition to the steps outlined above, they must fulfill additional requirements:

  1. Serve a longer suspension period: Repeat offenders face a longer period of license suspension – 24 months for a second conviction and 36 months for three or more convictions.
  2. Install the IID for an extended period: The mandatory IID installation period is also lengthened for repeat offenders, with variations depending on the number of offenses.

By adhering to these mandatory interlock installation processes, both first-time and repeat offenders in Arkansas can work towards reinstating their driving privileges and promoting a safer driving environment.

Costs and Maintenance

In this section, we discuss the financial responsibilities and service providers involved with ignition interlock devices (IIDs) in Arkansas.

Financial Responsibilities

When an individual is required to have an IID installed in their vehicle due to a misdemeanor or felony alcohol-impaired driving conviction, they have to bear the costs associated with the device. The expenses for IIDs may include:

  • Installation fee: A one-time fee which typically ranges from $50 to $150.
  • Monthly lease fee: Users are generally required to pay a leasing fee of around $60 to $100 per month for the device.
  • Maintenance and calibration fees: Depending on the service provider, minor regular fees may apply for the upkeep of the device and its calibration, usually around $20 to $50 per month.

It’s essential for those with IIDs installed to stay up to date with their financial responsibilities to ensure their device remains active and they stay within the guidelines of the ignition interlock program in Arkansas.

Service Providers

Arkansas has several IID service providers to choose from. These providers are responsible for installing, maintaining, and monitoring the devices. Before selecting a service provider, it is recommended to research:

  • Availability: Check if the provider has a convenient location near your residence or workplace.
  • Reputation: Look for reviews or testimonials from previous clients.
  • Pricing: Compare the costs of installation, monthly leasing, and maintenance fees among different providers.

Most providers in Arkansas offer fuel cell interlocks, which require less maintenance compared to semiconductor interlocks1. It is crucial to work with a reliable and accredited provider to ensure proper operation of your IID and compliance with Arkansas ignition interlock laws.

Removing an Interlock Device

When it comes to removing an ignition interlock device in Arkansas, there are specific conditions that must be met for the device to be removed from a vehicle. In this section, we will discuss the fulfillment of these conditions and the removal procedure of the ignition interlock device.

Condition Fulfillment

In Arkansas, the ignition interlock device must be installed for a predetermined period of time as mandated by the court or state regulations. This period typically depends on the severity of the offense and the number of prior convictions. Drivers are required to meet certain conditions and maintain a clean record before they can request the removal of the ignition interlock device.

  • First-time offenders: A first-time offender should have the interlock device installed for at least 6 months.
  • Repeat offenders: The interlock duration varies for repeat offenders and is determined by the court.

During the installation period, drivers should maintain a clean record by not attempting to start the vehicle after consuming alcohol, by not tampering with the interlock device, and by adhering to all program requirements.

Device Removal Procedure

Once the required period has passed and all conditions have been met, drivers can proceed with the removal procedure for the ignition interlock device. It’s important to follow the proper removal procedure to ensure compliance with the regulations and avoid potential penalties.

  1. Obtain removal authorization: Contact the relevant authority or organization responsible for overseeing your interlock program, such as the Arkansas District Judges1, to request removal authorization. They will verify if you have met all conditions and completed the required period.

  2. Schedule an appointment: Once authorized for removal, schedule an appointment with the authorized service provider who initially installed the ignition interlock device.

  3. Device removal: Attend the appointment and have the service provider remove the interlock device from your vehicle. Upon removal, the service provider may provide you with a removal confirmation document.

Following these steps helps ensure a smooth removal process, allowing you to regain your normal driving privileges.

Exceptions and Special Cases

Hardship Licenses

In some situations, individuals convicted of a DWI offense in Arkansas may be eligible for a hardship license. A hardship license allows them to continue driving under restricted conditions. One of the conditions may be the installation of an ignition interlock device on their vehicles.

However, it’s important to note that not all first-time DWI offenders are required to use ignition interlock devices. Only certain cases may require them. Bear in mind that these exceptions are assessed on a case-by-case basis and can depend on the severity of the offense and other factors related to the individual’s driving history.

Some possible exceptions or provisions for hardship licenses in Arkansas might include issuing an Ignition Interlock Restricted License (IIRL) to allow individuals the ability to drive for specific purposes such as work, school, or medical appointments. This type of license may come with additional restrictions, like limiting the hours during which driving is permitted.

In conclusion, while ignition interlock devices are an essential component of the legal response to DWI offenses in Arkansas, there are some exceptions and special cases. Hardship licenses, for example, may be issued at the discretion of the court and allow limited driving privileges with the installation of ignition interlock devices in certain circumstances.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the penalties for violating ignition interlock device requirements in Arkansas?

In Arkansas, violating ignition interlock device requirements can result in a variety of penalties, such as a class A misdemeanor charge, fines, suspension or revocation of driver’s license, and potential jail time. It is crucial for individuals with this requirement to adhere to the conditions of their interlock device to avoid these consequences.

What is the cost of installing an interlock device in Arkansas?

The cost of installing an interlock device in Arkansas varies depending on the specific provider and vehicle make. Generally, the installation cost ranges from $70 to $150, and the monthly fee is about $60 to $80. These costs are usually the offender’s responsibility, although financial assistance programs may be available for those with limited resources.

Are there any exemptions for ignition interlock devices in Arkansas?

Arkansas allows certain exemptions for ignition interlock devices, such as employer exemptions. This means that those required to use an interlock device may be permitted to operate an employer-owned vehicle without the device, as long as they are using it solely for work purposes and have the employer’s consent.

How does Arkansas define the interlock device statute?

Arkansas defines the ignition interlock device statute under § 5-65-118 of their state law. This statute requires individuals who have been convicted of certain DUI or DWI offenses to install and maintain an interlock device on their vehicle for a mandated period, ranging from six months to several years, based on the severity of the offense.

What are the requirements for installing interlock devices in Arkansas?

Arkansas requires that the ignition interlock device must be installed by an approved provider. The device must be calibrated regularly, and the offender must attend any necessary education classes, participate in monitoring appointments, and avoid any tampering or circumvention attempts. Additionally, the offender must maintain a valid driver’s license and adhere to any other restrictions stipulated by the court or the state’s licensing agency.

Which providers are certified to offer interlock devices in Arkansas?

In Arkansas, there are several certified providers for ignition interlock devices, offering various models and services. To find a list of approved providers, you can consult the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, which maintains a comprehensive directory of authorized companies in the state.


  1. Evaluation of state ignition interlock programs 2

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