DUI & DWI Defense
DWI & DUI Defense Attorneys in Little Rock
Proudly Serving Arkansas with offices in little rock, Mountain Home, & Texarkana
Being stopped for a DUI could change the way you live your life. You need a lawyer who will be able to get all the evidence available and be savvy enough to know when the evidence — though it may look damaging — can be used favorably for you. Drunk driving cases are loaded with scientific evidence and rely heavily on the training and education received by the police officers involved. Therefore, these cases should be handled by attorneys who focus their practice on DWIs — otherwise, the attorney is not likely to keep up to date on the current DWI science, testing, and law, all of which are often quite complicated. This is precisely why many of our clients (whose cases we took to trial and got not guilty verdicts) were told by other attorneys with a more generalized practice that there was no chance they could win their cases and were encouraged to plead guilty.
You should ask your attorney questions such as:
- Is your practice devoted primarily to drug and alcohol cases?
- What kind of training have you received that is specific to DWIs?
- Do you know the agency responsible for standardizing the field tests?
- Do you know who is responsible for oversight of the breath tests in Arkansas?
- Do you know how the breath, blood, and urine test results are calculated?
- Can you tell me about the dual column gas chromatograph with flame ionization and potential problems with its use?
- Do you know the possible and probable problems with the breath, blood, and urine tests?
- Do you answer you clients’ calls on the weekends or after hours?
- Can your clients have your personal cell phone number in case there is an emergency?
- Have you ever been to a police academy or any other law enforcement training?
- Have you ever arrested someone?
- Have you ever ridden with police officers and seen how they make their arrest decisions?
- Have you ever trained police officers on the street in real world situations?
- Have you ever investigated a case that resulted in the issuance of a search warrant or arrest warrant?
- Have you been trained to perform field sobriety tests?
- Have you ever operated a breathalyzer?
- Have you ever prosecuted people charged with a crime?
- Have you ever trained prosecutors?
- Have you ever lectured your peers on topics of DWI, DUI, or other alcohol or drug related offenses?
- Have you ever sat as a special judge on criminal cases?
Our lawyers can answer “yes” to each one of these questions. Don’t you want a lawyer who can do the same?
When choosing an attorney, price is a concern, but should not be the primary concern. The old adage, “you get what you pay for” is true in life and law. We charge enough to handle the case right, rather than just charging enough to get the client in the door. It is the constant battle of quality versus quantity. We are here to protect your rights. What are your rights worth to you?
When it's serious, contact us!
If you have been stopped, arrested, and charged with a DWI or DUI in the state of Arkansas — especially if you have never experienced it before — you are likely to be very confused, anxious, and scared. These are all normal feelings and emotions following a DWI/DUI arrest, or any arrest for that matter. Sometimes, when people are faced with the aftermath of a being arrested for a DUI, they are somewhat frozen in fear because of all the questions and worries about what is going to happen to them. People who have never been to court sometimes feel that the anticipation of what is about to happen is overwhelming. Most people don’t know what to expect and imagine the worst or imagine it will be like what they see on TV. Understanding these things will better prepare you to fight charges. The information on this page is provided so you will know what to expect through all the stages following your DWI arrest, from administrative hearings through plea and arraignment and trial. The Little Rock DUI and DWI defense lawyers at Collins, Collins & Ray answer these questions every day for our clients. If you have been charged with a DWI or DUI in Arkansas, let our attorneys help you.
There are important dates coming — therefore, you need an experienced attorney from the very beginning, so no part of your case is overlooked. Remember that your attorney is your voice in the judicial system, so you need to pick the right attorney for your case.
To speak with our Little Rock DUI and DWI defense lawyers, call (501) 392-5007.
AY Magazine’s Arkansas Best Lawyers: Brian Ray 2020, 2021
American Institute of DUI/DWI Attorneys – 10 Best Client Satisfaction: John C. Collins 2016
Arkansas Life Magazine’s – Top Attorneys: John C. Collins 2016, 2019
When you are arrested for DUI in the State of Arkansas, the police officer will take your driver’s license. In return, they should provide you with two pink sheets of paper. One is your temporary license. It will serve as your driver’s license for 30 days after your arrest. In theory, this is to allow you to get your case handled and be on the road to getting your license back, either after a not guilty verdict or after your period of suspension following a guilty plea or a finding of guilt after trial. In reality, this is almost never enough time for the process to be concluded. Often times, your first court appearance or plea and arraignment date is not even set within that 30-day time period. The second pink sheet is a form for a request for an administrative hearing. You have seven days to mail or fax that sheet to Driver Control (at the address or number provided on the form) to request a hearing regarding the immediate suspension of your license. Failure to send that form to Driver Control will result in a denial of a hearing regarding your license. Although this procedure is established by law as an administrative “hearing,” most cases result in an automatic finding that your license is suspended, with the time for suspension depending on whether it is a first-offense DWI, subsequent DWI, or DUI. The hearing officer will not hear testimony and will base their opinion on the report submitted by the police officer, who is not even present for the hearing. Still, it is important that the hearing request form be submitted to Driver Control within the seven-day period, because it is also the means by which you begin the process of getting an interlock device installed on your car.
License Suspension/Interlock Device
In most cases, after the 30-day temporary license has expired, your license will be automatically suspended through Driver Control. This is completely separate from the court process. At the time of your hearing (after a hearing officer finds that your license should be suspended), Driver Control will issue an “Interlock Order” that states that you are eligible for an interlock device to be installed on your vehicle. This device is attached to your ignition, and you are required to blow into it in order to start your vehicle. The vehicle will not start if there is a detectable amount of alcohol on your breath. You will also be required to periodically blow into the machine again in order for your vehicle to continue operating.
Driver Control will also provide you with a list of local interlock providers. You can call any of the providers listed on the form to have the machine installed on your vehicle. Some of the companies will even come to your vehicle for installation. There is a fee for installation of the device and a monthly maintenance fee, which varies and is payable to the interlock providers. After the interlock is installed, the provider will give you a certificate of installation. This certificate must then be taken to Driver Control, and then you will receive a form that will serve as your restricted driver’s license, which states that you are only allowed to drive a vehicle that has an interlock device installed in it. This form will be valid for the period of your driver’s license suspension, which is determined by whether you are charged with a DWI-1 or subsequent DWI, DUI, or refusal.
Another form that you should receive from Driver Control will specify what you are required to do in order to get your license reinstated after your suspension period, such as attending alcohol education classes and paying reinstatement fees. These requirements will not be necessary if you are found “not guilty” at trial.
The ticket you received from the police officer will have your first court date written on it. It tells you when you must appear in court and the Arkansas District Court in which you must appear. This date is called a plea and arraignment date. This is a court date on which only guilty pleas or not guilty pleas are accepted. If you plead guilty on this date, you are sentenced immediately, and your case, except for the consequences, is over — so is your ability to fight your case. If you plead not guilty, you will be given a trial date. Some people ask if it is possible to plead not guilty on this first date and later come back and plead guilty. They usually ask, “Won’t that make the judge mad?” The answer is that it is very common for that to happen. Since sometimes there has been no opportunity for a defendant to speak to an attorney prior to their first court date, a judge will almost always understand why someone would not plead guilty on their first court date and then later change their plea to guilty.
If you have talked to friends and/or family about your DWI, or even other attorneys who are not familiar with DWI defense, you may be advised to just plead guilty on your first appearance and get it over with. However, our attorneys almost never give someone this advice. At this stage of the case, it would be foolish to do so. You don’t yet have all the information that the prosecution will try to use against you as evidence of your guilt.
In most jurisdictions, if you hire an attorney to represent you, the attorney will handle the plea and arraignment date, and you will not have to appear in court. Whether you attend the plea and arraignment or hire an attorney prior to that court date, it is at that court appearance that you will be given a trial date.
After hiring an attorney, most people want to know how long they will have to wait for their case to be over. Understandably, they want to put this whole experience behind them as quickly as possible. You may be feeling the same way. Unfortunately, the process is not quick and easy. A lot of work has to be done by the attorney before your case ever gets to court. Documents and records have to be requested from the courts, police, Department of Health, and other agencies that may be involved in your case. It takes time to compile all these documents and records — sometimes, the attorney has to fight the agencies involved to get the necessary documentation. This is another reason you need to hire an experienced DWI lawyer. Other lawyers may not know about all the various documentation (and the various sources through whom the information is received) that they need to properly defend your case. It goes well beyond the police report. This is a time-consuming process in which the attorney is doing a lot of work, and you are doing a lot of waiting. You should call your attorney at any time during this period for updates on your case if you feel apprehensive.
As the trial date gets closer, most people start feeling anxious and worried about what will happen at court. This is very common. Again, especially if you’ve never been to court, going to court on your own case is a worrisome ordeal. You should be proactive in your case. Your attorney will be able to make you feel much more comfortable as the time nears by preparing you with the defenses that he or she will be presenting at trial. Make sure you know the date and time of your next court appearance and the location of the courthouse. Your attorney should tell you these things, but sometimes clients lose their letters, forget, etc., so keep in contact with your attorney so you will always be prepared.
It is not common for the defendant to testify at trial. Most people are very worried about getting up on the stand and being asked questions by the prosecutor. Most clients will never have to do that — their attorney will do the talking for them. If you are going to testify at trial, you will discuss this at length with your attorney and be more comfortable with the plan before you do it. The attorney will be the one who will be asking the witnesses questions at court, but you should take an active role in your trial. Be prepared to listen carefully to all the testimony and be prepared to take notes if asked to do so by your attorney, as listening to the testimony may jog your memory regarding the events of your arrest.
On your court date, it is best to arrive for your DWI trial about 15 minutes early. You should dress in “business casual” attire. No suits or “church clothes” are necessary, but you shouldn’t dress as if you are going to a cook-out or concert either. There will be other lawyers and other DWI cases set for trial on your court date, so plan to be there for several hours. If you are from out of state, plan on flying home the next day to avoid flight scheduling problems.
Appeal from District Court
If you do not win your case at the District Court level, you have the right to an appeal. Cases appealed from District Court go to the Circuit Court of the county in which the District Court lies. For example, a Little Rock District Court case will be appealed to the Pulaski County Circuit Court, and Texarkana cases will be appealed to the Miller County Circuit Court. When a case is appealed to Circuit Court, it starts over from the beginning. This is called a trial “de novo.” A new plea and arraignment are usually required, the paperwork from your case must be replicated, and you will have a new trial. The great thing about a de novo appeal is that you can choose to have a jury trial instead of having the case heard and decided by a judge. The bad news is that the choice to have a jury hear the case is not yours alone. The prosecution can also get a jury trial. In other words, if you want to have a judge decide the case, but the prosecution wants a jury, the prosecution can force you to a jury trial. Regardless of whether you have a bench trial or a jury trial, the attorneys at Collins, Collins & Ray will fight for you every step of the way.
Drug DWI/DUI Cases
Driving while intoxicated by any substance that impairs your mental and physical capability can land you behind bars. While Marijuana is one drug that will cause you to be an impaired driver, it is not the only one that will get you charged with impaired driving. Driving while under the influence of a prescription medicine can also get you charged with a case. The penalties for impaired driving could change your life, so you need to hire an attorney that you trust. Whether you are charged while driving under the influence of drugs or prescriptions medicines, the attorneys at Collins, Collins & Ray will fight for you every step of the way.
Arrested at a Checkpoint or Roadblock?
Being arrested during roadblocks and checkpoints has been a recurring issue because such stops are often an affront to an individual’s rights against unreasonable search and seizure. We have successfully argued to the Arkansas Supreme Court regarding the constitutional protections that must be put in place during checkpoints/roadblocks.
Contact us today to get started on your case.
Can a prior DUI be used to enhance a prior DWI?
No, under Arkansas law, a DUI cannot be used to enhance a DWI. For example, if you get a DUI when you are 19 and then get another DUI when you are 20, it will be a DUI-2. But if you then get a DWI when you are 21, that will be a DWI-1, and the DUIs will not be used to enhance the DWI to a DWI-2 or DWI-3.
Can a prior DWI be used to enhance a DUI?
Yes, a prior DWI can be used to enhance a DUI.
Is the look back period ten years from when I got my first DWI or ten years from when I plead guilty?
Enhancement for prior DWIs and DUIs during the 10-year look-back period are determined from the date the violations occurred rather than the date of conviction.
How long do the Courts look back when determining if this is a 1st or subsequent DWI or DUI?
The Courts will look back ten years.