Senate Panel Advances Change To Arkansas DWI Law

May 27, 2015

A proposal to change Arkansas' driving while intoxicated law to prevent losing more than $50 million in federal highway funds is heading to the state Senate for a vote.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday endorsed a proposal to make DWI an offense for which prosecutors don't have to prove intent. The measure would only apply to alcohol-related DWI offenses.

An earlier version of the proposal had failed before the panel on Tuesday.

The measure was proposed after the state Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that DWI is not a "strict scrutiny" offense where prosecutors don't have to show intent. State highway officials have said the ruling threatened transportation funding that's tied to the state's DWI laws.

The measure is expected to go before the full Senate Wednesday morning.