In Need of a First Offense DWI Defense Lawyer?

At the Russell Law Firm, LLC. Our Baton Rouge DWI defense lawyers know that getting arrested for driving while intoxicated in Louisiana — even for the first time — is an incredibly stressful event. With or without a criminal history, the idea of having a serious charge on your record can be a devastating blow to your personal and professional life.

After your arrest, you may have a seemingly endless number of questions. Will I lose my license? How much will a lawyer help minimize the legal fallout? How much will partnering with an experienced East Baton Rouge Parish DWI defense attorney cost? Will this offense be visible during an employee background check?

We can help you understand your first offense DWI charge and how it will impact your life going forward so you can make informed decisions about your case.

First Offense DWI Law in Louisiana

What is a First Offense DWI in Louisiana?

Louisiana’s legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for drivers is .08%. For drivers under 21, the limit is .02%.

A driver with a BAC of .08% or higher is considered intoxicated and can be convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). However, drivers can still be arrested for DWI even if their BAC is below .08% if they are unable to operate a vehicle due to alcohol or drug use safely.

BAC, or blood alcohol content, is a term used for the way that Law Enforcement measures the amount of alcohol in your system. A person’s BAC is determined through a variety of different methods.

Some of the methods used to determine BAC include:

  • Blood samples.
  • Breathalyzer tests.
  • Field sobriety tests.

Louisiana has an Implied Consent law. This means if you have a license in Louisiana, you have consented to these tests. Refusing a sobriety test will result in losing your driving privileges.

However, alcohol in the blood is not the only way someone gets a DWI.

The officer can arrest a driver for DWI if they believe they are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. Alcohol in the blood is not even required to prove DWI, but it is a vital piece of evidence for the prosecution.

What are the Statutory Penalties for a First Offense DWI in Louisiana?

A first-offense DWI conviction is classified as a misdemeanor and means that you have not been arrested nor convicted of a previous DWI charge within the past ten years.

Upon arrest, the officer usually confiscates your driver’s license and issues a temporary driving permit for 30 days. Your driver’s license, along with the evidence they have collected against you, will usually be forwarded to the Louisiana Department of Motor Vehicles or a criminal evidence department of the local law enforcement agency.

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. Our experienced Louisiana DWI attorney knows how administrative hearings work and may give you a better chance of avoiding the suspension of your driving privileges.

The potential statutory penalties for a first-offense DWI charge in Louisiana include:

  • Jail time: There is a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 days. The maximum is six months. The sentence can be suspended if the defendant is placed on probation ands completes all conditions of his/her probation, nonexclusive to 32 hours of community service, of which half the time has to be trash collection; participation in a court-approved substance abuse program; and other conditions
  • Fines: The fine imposed by the judge for a first offense usually ranges between $300 and $1,000 plus allcourt costs.

Special Penalty Requirements for First-Time DWI:

  • If the BAC is over 0.15 but less than 0.20, you must serve at least 48 hours of the jail time mentioned above without the benefit of that 48-hour sentence being suspended,with a few exceptions.

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, with a few exceptions.
  • A fine of $750 to $1,000.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for 12 months.
  • Two-year suspension of driver’s license.

What are My Legal Options After a First Offense DWI in Louisiana?

Just because you have been arrested for a DWI in Louisiana does not mean you will be convicted of these serious charges. Contact our dedicated Baton Rouge DWI defense attorneys today at 225-307-0088 or online to get the legal support you need to produce real results for your unique case.

The Russell Law Firm is in Your Corner, and We Fight to Win.

Information furnished herein is only general and not a substitute for personalized legal advice. Any discussions and photographs herein depict no actual event or scene but merely a dramatization.

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