Arkansas Alcohol Laws
Where to Buy Alcohol
Arkansas laws are somewhat unique in that private clubs can serve alcohol in dry counties, which are numerous. All alcoholic beverages are sold in retail stores rather than state-owned package stores. In most areas alcohol is not sold on Sundays, but restaurants can be the exception. Alcohol is not sold on Christmas Day. You should familiarize yourself with the laws of the county in which you reside or visit as they can vary a great deal.
Arkansas has a tier system for alcohol licensing that determines when the bar or restaurant can serve alcohol. A Class A license allows alcohol service from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. A Class B license permits alcohol service from 10 a.m. until 5 a.m. A Restaurant License serves alcohol until 1 a.m.
Legal Age for Drinking/Serving Alcohol
You must be 21 to drink alcohol or work as a bartender, 19 to serve in a restaurant with an alcohol license, and 18 years of age to handle alcohol in a grocery store. Parental consent is a stipulation of the law for those working with alcohol under the age of 21.
Open Container Laws
Containers of alcohol that have previously been opened are permissible in a vehicle, but it is not legal for the driver or passengers to drink.
The maximum legal blood-alcohol content (BAC) is .08 percent. Drivers with a higher BAC are considered ‘per se intoxicated’ and can be convicted of DUI (driving under the influence) on this evidence. Drivers under 21 with a .02 percent BAC or higher will be convicted of DUI. Drivers with a BAC of .18 percent or more over the maximum legal BAC limit of .08 percent and drivers refusing chemical testing for intoxication will experience enhanced penalties.
‘Implied consent laws’ are agreed to by the new driver, which include showing proof of insurance and a driver’s license if requested, and complying with a request for BAC chemical testing. A driver’s license can be immediately suspended for up to one year for refusing to comply.
The first DUI imposes license suspension by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for 120 days; for the second offense, two years; for the third offense, thirty months.
For a fourth DUI conviction in Arkansas, a driver’s vehicle may be confiscated, an ignition interlock device may be attached to the driver’s car, and/or alcohol education and assessment may be required.
DUI is considered a felony after the fourth conviction.