Criminal Attorneys & DWI Lawyers in Covington, New Orleans, and Shreveport Louisiana

louisiana dwi dui laws and penalties
26Nov

DUI in Louisiana: Laws & Penalties

On this page we will go over DUI in Louisiana and discuss the laws for getting a DWI and the penalties if you are charged. Please also take a look at our video below and learn more about what to expect if you get a DUI in Louisiana.

DUI in Louisiana Laws and Penalties

DWI And DUI Are The Same Statute In Louisiana

In Louisiana, DWI, DUI, OWI, and OUI are all the same statute. There is no difference between DWI vs DUI. And if you are hit with a DWI in Louisiana, you want to be sure to hire an excellent DUI defense attorney. The laws in this state are extremely harsh and you could lose your license for a very long time if you fail to hire an attorney.

Louisiana DUI laws state that DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) is a criminal offense defined as operating a vehicle and having specific conditions exist at the same time.

Definition Of DWI In Louisiana

The operator is under the influence of alcohol, or controlled dangerous substance drugs, or, a combination of both (prescription or not), or

The driver’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) is .08 or greater, or

If the driver of the vehicle is under the age of 21, and has a blood alcohol over .02.

Prior DWI Convictions In The State Of Louisiana

Prior DWI Convictions: The penalties for DWI in Louisiana are “enhanced,” or made harsher, as one accrues DWI convictions. The prosecutor will attempt to use the prior DWI convictions to enhance the new DWI so penalties skyrocket. It doesn’t matter if the prior DWI is from Louisiana or out of state. The new DWI could become go from a first to a second, to a third, to a fourth, to a subsequent fourth offense for DWI.

Two Cases – Very Important!

After being arrested for DWI, you will have two cases to deal with. The first is the Administrative Hearing in which you must request in writing within 30 days from your DWI arrest date or else you lose the right. The DMV will be proposing a suspension of your driver’s license for refusal to take chemical tests or submitted over the legal limit.

The second case is the actual DWI in criminal court. That is where you will see a prosecutor and judge and the possibility of jail time. You need to hire a DWI attorney ASAP to handle both. What happens when you get a DWI greatly depends on how fast you act. If you drag your feet, just waiting for your court date, the consequences of a DWI, including your driving privileges could be affected negatively. Either take control of your case or let the court system take control of you…it’s your choice.

How Can a DWI Lawyer Help?

Once our firm is hired, we will request the Administrative Hearing and request the reports. We will try to find out as much as we can about the evidence they have against you as early as we can. That way, we can better advise you regarding the strategy for your DWI case. There are many technicalities that the police must do correctly in DWI cases. We know how to examine these issues to see if the police made a mistake, giving us a good defense. Even if you do not have a good defense to the facts of the DWI, there are ways we can negotiate a resolution with the prosecutor to protect your criminal record and future.

Is DUI a misdemeanor or felony?

In Louisiana, DUI first offense and second offense are considered misdemeanors while DWI third offense, fourth offense DWI, and subsequent DWI are felonies. Felony DWI is when the offender has at least 2 previous DWI convictions within 10 years. The prosecutor will include the prior DWI charge to enhance the new DWI if there is not 10 years cleansing period between the date of offense of the new DWI arrest and the date he completed probation for the prior DWI convictions.

For example, let’s say the defendant was arrested for DWI first offense in Shreveport on January 1, 2009, but had a series of court dates and pled guilty to DWI on September 1, 2009. He was placed on misdemeanor probation for 2 years. He completed probation on September 1, 2011. His new arrest was for a DUI charge in New Orleans on August 1, 2020. The prosecutor may attempt to enhance the DWI first offense, charging him with DWI second offense because 10 years had not lapsed between the date of arrest of new charge and completion of probation.

what happens when you get a dwi in louisiana
The process when you get a DWI in Louisiana

Penalties for DWI

What happens when you get a DUI?

When you get arrested for DWI in Louisiana, the consequences of a DWI may include jail time, fines, probation, treatment, community service, license suspension from the DMV, SR-22 insurance, ignition interlock device, and more, depending on the number of prior DWIs convictions within 10 years.

The following is a general summary of the DWI penalties and what happens when you get a DUI. Judges can always tailor the sentence to the defendant based on the defendant’s prior criminal record, including other charges such as drug or theft arrests, DWI arrests that did not result in a conviction, and other circumstances in the defendant’s life. That is why we do our best to paint the picture of our client in the best way possible for the judge. We know how to do this successfully. We do not simply walk our client into the courtroom and say plead guilty. We have defended thousands of clients for DWI in many parishes in Louisiana. We understand how to make our client look as good as possible, along with finding possible DW defenses. This may result in reducing the possible sentence. Or punishment.

The following are the penalties for the criminal charge of DWI. Click here for information on driver’s license suspension. This is not intended to be a legal education in every aspect of the DWI law regarding penalties. It is intended to give you enough information to see what you are facing.

First Offense DWI (Misdemeanor)

A first offense DUI in Louisiana is considered a misdemeanor with the following penalties upon conviction:

Fine: $300 to $1,000

Court Costs: Depending on the court, it could be approximately $250

Jail time: 10 days to 6 months

Probation: Up to two years of probation (depending on the judge)

Community Service: Serve 48 hours in jail or complete least 32 hours of community service, half of which must be litter detail

Substance Abuse Evaluation/Treatment: Must be evaluated for substance abuse by a certified counselor and follow any recommended treatment

Classes: Participation in a court-approved driver improvement program

MADD Victim Impact Panel: Many judges may order the defendant to attend one

License Suspension: The DMV could suspend a Louisiana driver’s license for first offense DWI conviction for one year.

Ignition Interlock Device: May be required by the DMV to obtain a hardship license

SR-22 Insurance: May be required to get the hardship license after a DWI first offense conviction

Special penalty requirements for first offense DWI:

If the BAC is over .15, then an additional 48 hours of the jail sentence cannot be suspended. The judge may allow home incarceration, although many do not.

If the BAC is over .20, then the defendant must face 48 hours of mandatory jail, a fine of $750 to $1,000, and an ignition interlock device must be installed for a period of 12 months.

If a child twelve years old or younger was present in the car during the DUI arrest, the jail sentences that cannot be suspended.

Second Offense DWI (Misdemeanor)

A second-offense DUI in Louisiana is considered a misdemeanor with the following penalties upon conviction:

Fine: $750 to $1,000

Court Costs: Depending on the court, it could be approximately $250

Jail time: 30 days to 6 months. 48 hours in jail must be served (home incarceration is a possibility)

Probation: 15 days in jail unless the judge orders probation for up to 2 years, but 48 hours must be served in jail, along with community service and re-education programs.

Community Service: 240 hours

Substance Abuse Evaluation/Treatment: Must be evaluated for substance abuse by a certified counselor and follow any recommended treatment

Classes: Participation in a court-approved driver improvement program

MADD Victim Impact Panel: Many judges may order the defendant to attend one

License Suspension: The DMV could suspend a Louisiana driver’s license for second offense DWI conviction for two years.

Ignition Interlock Device: May be required by the DMV to obtain a hardship license. Judge in the criminal case will require it. In fact, after the DWI second offense arrest, the judge will require it as a condition of bond along with an ankle monitor, depending on the judge.

SR-22 Insurance: May be required to get the hardship license after a DWI second offense conviction

Special penalty requirements for Second Offense DWI in Louisiana:

If the BAC is over .15, then 96 hours of the jail sentence must be served.

If the BAC is over .20, then 96 hours of the jail sentence must be served, and the fine is $1,000. The driver’s license is suspended for 4 years, and an ignition interlock device must be installed for at least 3 years.

If a child twelve years old or younger was present in the car during the DUI arrest, the jail sentences that cannot be suspended.

Third Offense DWI (Felony)

A third-offense DUI in Louisiana is considered a felony, with the following penalties upon conviction:

Fine: A fine of $2,000

Court Costs: Depending on the court, it could be approximately $250

Jail time: One to five years imprisonment with or without hard labor, one year to be served without suspension of sentence

Probation: Up to 5 years, but 1 year must be served in prison. After the defendant completes his first year in prison, his probation would begin after released.

Community Service: 240 hours

MADD Victim Impact Panel: Many judges may order the defendant to attend one

Substance Abuse Evaluation: A requirement to undergo an evaluation for substance abuse with a certified counselor

Substance Abuse Treatment: An order to comply with inpatient treatment for four weeks, plus up to 12 months of out-patient treatment

Home Incarceration: Probation for the full length of any suspended sentence plus home incarceration for a minimum of 6 months (An offender sentenced to home incarceration may be ordered to wear tracking devices and have curfew restrictions and electronic monitoring, at his expense.)

Forfeiture: The prosecutor may seize the offender’s vehicle and sell it. This is up to the prosecutor.

Ignition Interlock Device: An ignition interlock on all vehicles driven by the offender shall be required for the period of probation.

Special penalty requirements for third offense DWI in Louisiana:

If a child twelve years old or younger was present in the car during the DUI arrest, then one year of the jail sentence cannot be suspended.

Fourth or Subsequent Offense DWI (Felony)

Judges will consider if this is a defendant’s true fourth offense DWI or if it is a fifth, sixth, seventh, etc. A fourth-offense DUI or “subsequent fourth offense” DUI in Louisiana is considered a felony, with the following penalties upon conviction:

Fine: $5,000

Court Costs: Depending on the court, it could be approximately $250

Jail time: A prison sentence of a minimum of 10 years to a maximum of 30 years imprisonment (2 years must be served in prison without benefit of suspension)

Probation: Up to 5 years after release from prison

Community Service: 320 hours

MADD Victim Impact Panel: Many judges may order the defendant to attend one

Substance Abuse Evaluation: A requirement to undergo an evaluation for substance abuse with a certified counselor

Substance Abuse Treatment: An order to comply with inpatient treatment for four weeks, plus up to 12 months of out-patient treatment

Home Incarceration: Home incarceration for at least 1 year (An offender sentenced to home incarceration may be ordered to wear tracking devices and have curfew restrictions and electronic monitoring, at his expense.)

Forfeiture: The prosecutor may seize the vehicle the offender was driving at the time of the DWI arrest.

More Information Related to DWI Laws & Penalties

What’s the Difference Between DWI and DUI in Louisiana?

Can I Get A DWI For Sitting In My Car?

Can I Fight A DWI?

How DWI Cases Get Dismissed

How To Improve Your Situation Before DWI Court

What To Expect From Court-Mandated Treatment for DUI

DWI Court Process After an Arrest in Louisiana

Hardship License for DWI in Louisiana

Can A DWI Be Expunged

DWI FAQ

How much does a DUI cost in Louisiana?

It has been estimated that after the completion of probation, ignition interlock device, classes, etc., the total cost of a DUI in Louisiana is around $7500-10,000. DUI cost is so high because they are lengthy cases that require many different fees that build up over time. Our DWI lawyers try to minimize the financial cost to our clients by negotiating terms with the prosecutor and judge where it is possible.

How long does a DUI stay on your driving record in Louisiana?

There is no expungement process for removal of a DWI from a driving record in Louisiana. However, insurance companies vary as to how long go back on driving records. Also, insurance companies will care about whether it is only a DWI arrest or conviction.

How long do they hold you for DUI Louisiana?

You will be held in jail for DUI in Louisiana until a bond has been posted. The bond provides assurance to the court that you will appear in court to answer to the DWI. The bail amount will be set by the judge. That amount will be based on whether the charge is DWI first offense or felony DWI. Also, the judge will consider if other charges exist such as hit and run or drug possession.

How much is a DUI ticket in Louisiana?

The fines for a DUI ticket range from $750-5000. Keep in mind, a Louisiana DUI ticket is not like a speeding ticket that you can just call and pay. In fact, it is court-required. It is considered a serious misdemeanor.

What do I need to do after I get my first DUI in Louisiana?

The first step is requesting in writing an Administrative Hearing within 30 days of your DWI arrest. Our DWI lawyers can do that for you if you hire us in time. See this post for more information.

What am I required to do at a DUI checkpoint in Louisiana?

At a DUI checkpoint in Louisiana, you are required to pull over as instructed by the officer and stop the vehicle. You are required to present your driver’s license, registration, and insurance if requested. You are not required to perform field sobriety tests or chemical tests unless a warrant has been obtained.

How does a DUI bond work in Louisiana?

After the judge sets the bail amount, you can go to the jail and post a cash bond with the sheriff in the full amount of the bail or you hire a bail bondsman and pay him 12%. If you pay a cash bond, you will get it all back after the defendant goes to court and finished the DUI case. If you hire a bail bondsman for the DWI, you will not get the 12% back. That is his fee for putting up the entire amount.

How to avoid losing a CDL for DUI Louisiana?

The process to try to avoid losing a CDL license in Louisiana is to request the Administrative Hearing and have your lawyer try to win it. The, you’d have to beat the DWI in criminal court as well. Louisiana DWI law is tough on CDL drivers.

How to get a DUI felony expunged in Louisiana?

Your felony DUI must have concluded with a sentence under article 893, you received a governor’s pardon, or 10 years has lapsed since completion of your sentence. You must file a Motion to Expunge your record that must be approved by the judge to get the DUI felony expunged.

What happens to license after DUI first Louisiana?

If convicted for DUI first offense in Louisiana, your license could be suspended for one year. This is a separate suspension from the refusal or submittal over the limit.

What is the DUI limit in Louisiana?

The DUI limit in Louisiana is .08 blood alcohol content and .02 for those who are under 21 years old.

What are the fees for reinstatement of drivers license after DUI Louisiana?

Typically, the reinstatement fees are $150. However, they vary based on other aspects of your case.

If you have DWI question that you need answered, feel free to complete the form here.

DWI Lawyer in Louisiana

At the Barkemeyer Law Firm, our DUI lawyers have over 100 combined years of experience defending thousands of clients charged with DWI in Louisiana. We’ve been doing it for so long with so many clients because we know how to help our clients and get the best results in their cases. If you need the best DWI lawyer for your case, feel free to contact us anytime.

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Louisiana Criminal Lawyers

Louisiana criminal lawyers and DWI attorneys at the Barkemeyer Law Firm providing legal defense services for clients in New Orleans, Metairie, Kenner, Gretna, Hahnville, Belle Chasse, St. Bernard, Slidell, St. Tammany, St. Charles, St. John, Laplace, Mandeville, Covington, Shreveport, Bossier, and Jefferson.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not formal legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.

Louisiana Criminal Lawyers

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