Louisiana DWI Laws & Penalties
Under Louisiana DWI laws, it is against the law for any person to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or greater or while under the influence of certain drugs. If you are pulled over and the officer has a belief that you are indeed under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you will be arrested. Upon being arrested the officer usually confiscates your driver’s license and issues a temporary driving permit that is good for 30 days. Your driver’s license, along with the evidence he or she has collected against you, will usually be forwarded to the Louisiana Department of Motor Vehicles or some criminal evidence department of the local law enforcement agency.
After your arrest, you only have 30 days from the date of your arrest to request an administrative hearing with the Louisiana DMV to contest the suspension of your driver’s license. The skills of an experienced Louisiana DWI attorney who knows how administrative hearings work, may give you a better chance of avoiding the suspension of your driving privileges.
Potential Penalties for DUI / DWI in Louisiana
Louisiana First Offense DUI
A first offense DUI conviction is classified as a misdemeanor and means that you have not been arrested nor convicted of a previous DUI charge within the past 10 years. The potential jail time and fines for a first offense DUI charge are as follows:
- Jail time: There is a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 days. The maximum is 6-months. The sentence can be suspended for 32 hours probation instead, of which half the time has to be trash collection.
- Fines: The fine amount for a first offense will be between $300 and $1,000 plus all the associated court costs.
Special penalty requirements for 1st-time DWI:
- If the BAC is over .15, but less than .20, then you must serve at least 48 hours of the jail time mentioned above, without the benefit of that 48 hour sentence being suspended.
- If the BAC is over .20, then the following penalties take effect:
- 48 hours of mandatory jail time in addition to the general jail time requirements;
- Fine of $750 to $1,000;
- Installation of an ignition interlock device for a period of 12 months; and
- 2 year suspension of driver’s license.
Louisiana Second Offense DWI
A second offense conviction is classified as a misdemeanor. The potential jail time and fines for a second offense DWI charge are as follows:
- Jail time: The jail term for a second offense will be between 30 days and 6 months. 48 hours of the jail time you are sentenced to may be suspended.
- Fines: The fine amount for a second offense will be between $750 and $1,000 plus all the associated court costs.
Special penalty requirements for 2nd-time DWI:
- If the BAC is over .15, but less than .2, then the following additional penalties take effect:
- 96 hours of the jail sentence must be served;
- $1,000 fine;
- Driver’s license is susptended for 4 years; and
- An ignition interlock device must be installed for at least 3 of the 4 year license suspension if the driver is allowed to drive.
Louisiana Third Offense DWI
A third offense conviction is felony offense. The potential jail time and fines for a third offense DWI charge are as follows:
- Jail time: The jail term for a third offense will be between 1-5 years. One year of the jail sentence must be served without the benefit of suspension.
- Fines: The fine for a third offense is $2,000 plus all the associated court costs.
Louisiana Fourth Offense DWI
A fourth-offense DWI charge or “subsequent fourth offense” DWI is considered a felony. The potential penalties for a fourth offense DWI charge are as follows:
- Jail time: 10 – 30 years. Two years of the jail sentence must be served without the benefit of suspension.
- Fines: $5,000 plus all the associated court costs.
For each of the offenses mentioned above, there may be circumstances where the offender may be required to serve additional jailtime, pay greater fines, or have his/her license suspended for a greater period. Some of those circumstances involve whether the offender was a minor, injured someone else while driving under the influence, or others. Further, depending on the offense, other outcomes may result, such as:
- a court may allow any sentence imposed to be suspended and the offender be placed on probation;
- the offender may have to install an ignition interlock device;
- the offender may have to take certain drug or alcohol classes;
- the offender may have to take certain driving classes; and
- the offender may be required to perform community service
DWIs can have other serious consequences, so if you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence, contact a skilled DWI defense attorney at the Russell Law Firm. The Russell Law Firm represents clients in DWI/DUI cases throughout the State of Louisiana, including the parishes of East Baton Rouge Parish, West Baton Rouge Parish, Plaquemines Parish, Livingston Parish, Ascension Parish, Jefferson Parish, Orleans Parish, St. Charles Parish, Terrebonne Parish, Assumption Parish, Lafayette Parish, Lafourche Parish, Lafayette Parish, St. Landry Parish, Evangeline Parish; and the cities of Baton Rouge, Livingston, Denham Springs, Walker, Gonzales, Donaldsonville, Port Allen, Brusly, Addis, Lafayette, Napoleonville, Kenner, Harvey, Marrero, Estelle, Gretna, Metairie, New Orleans, Terrytown, Westwego, Ville Platte, Eunice, Opelousas, Thibodaux, Houma, Belle Chasse, and Hahnville. Danny Russell is skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable about the Louisiana DWI laws, related non-DWI statutes, and how to evaluate evidence that law enforcement and prosecutors might try to use against you. If you or someone you know has been arrested for a DWI, call the Russell Law Firm at 225-307-0088. We offer free, no obligation initial consultations. Mr. Russell will handle all matters pertaining to your charge in an effective, efficient manner. We take care of paperwork and manage deadlines so that you never have to worry about the status of your case. Information furnished herein is only general and not a substitute for personalized legal advice.