Louisiana DUI Laws

DUI Laws in Louisiana

Louisiana law states that those driving while intoxicated are to be convicted of misdemeanors. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol also constitutes misdemeanor charges if the individuals have blood alcohol content percentages over 0.08. Those who have two or more prior DWI offenses will advance a misdemeanor charge to a felony if the convictions take place within a ten-year time period.

Individuals with blood alcohol content percentages below 0.05 are not considered to be driving under the influence unless endangering others. DUI charges can be made through proof of impairment when a blood alcohol content percentage lies between 0.05 and 0.08.

Louisiana states that the legal limit for adult DUI offenses is 0.08 percent, but minors with blood alcohol content limits of 0.02 percent are to be charged with driving under the influence.

DUI Convictions

For an individual to be convicted of a DUI offense, an attorney will have to prove before the court that the individual was impaired while driving. This can be proven through personal appearance, blood alcohol content percentages, breath tests, field sobriety tests, and driving patterns. However, even if an individual has a blood alcohol content percentage over the legal limit he or she may still have the charges dismissed if the prosecuting attorney cannot prove that he or she was too impaired to drive. Individuals may be convicted of DUI offenses even if their blood alcohol content levels were not above the legal limit but were too impaired to drive.

An individual also may be convicted of drunk driving through Louisiana’s per se statute. This law does not require the prosecuting attorney to prove that the individual was impaired while driving, instead, the attorney will only need to prove that the individual had a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or greater.

DUI Penalties in Louisiana

As residents of Louisiana are well aware, driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense with potentially severe consequences. Any motorist found operating a vehicle with an alcohol content above .08 or who has ingested drugs that impair their ability to drive can be charged with DUI. In order for those accused of DUI to successfully navigate the legal process and mitigate the potential punishments, it is strongly recommended to seek out the counsel of an experienced attorney familiar with the nuances of DUI law within the state of Louisiana. By taking this proactive approach, you have a greater chance of reaching a favorable outcome to your case.

First DUI Offense

  • Fine ranging from $300-$1,000
  • Up to 6 months in jail
  • Probation including 2 mandatory days in jail and completion of approved alcohol program and driver improvement program
  • Potential community service

Second DUI Offense

In Louisiana, a second DUI offense is categorized as a misdemeanor, with increased penalties. Not only do offenders have to complete a substance abuse program and driver improvement program, but they may also face higher fines, extended jail sentences, and longer probation periods. It is essential for those facing a second DUI charge to be aware of the more severe consequences they could incur in comparison to their first offense.

  • A fine of $750-$1,000
  • Jail term of 30 days to 6 months
  • 48 consecutive days of jail time without parole or suspended sentence
  • Possible community service
  • Probation mandating 15-day jail stay and substance abuse classes

Third DUI Offense

Committing a third or fourth DUI offense can have serious consequences, with both incurring felony charges. Depending on the severity of the crime, third offenses can result in fines of up to $2,000, while fourth offenses may incur fines of up to $5,000. In terms of jail time, those convicted of a third DUI can face anywhere from one to five years in prison. A fourth violation is even more severe and carries a sentencing that ranges from 10 to 30 years behind bars. It’s important for individuals to be aware of the legal ramifications associated with driving under the influence so they can avoid making these costly mistakes.

  • $2,000 fine
  • 1-5 years imprisonment
  • Must complete 30 eight-hour days of court-ordered community service
  • Psychiatric assessment required
  • Court-appointed alcohol treatment program

DWI Vehicular Manslaughter

Whoever is found guilty of committing the offense of vehicular homicide while under the influence of alcohol shall be considered as having committed a crime of violence, providing that their blood alcohol concentration at the time of the offense exceeds 0.20 percent. This percentage is calculated based on grams of alcohol per one hundred cubic centimeters of blood. It is important to note that this level of intoxication significantly impairs judgment and motor skills, endangering both the driver and other people on the road.

  • Minimum 5 years to maximum 30 years prison sentence
  • A fine of $2,000-$15,000

Drunk Driving Consequences

Upon a driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated conviction an individual will most often have his or her license suspended along with several thousands of dollars in fines and incarceration between a few days and a few months, depending on the number of prior offenses. Prior offenses will significantly increase current convictions. A first-time driving while intoxicated offense may be punished by a one-hundred-dollar fine, community service, ninety days of license suspension, and a substance abuse evaluation. Six months of incarceration is also a possibility.

Horizontal Gaze DUI Test
Horizontal Gaze DUI Test by Nevin’s Photos

Blood alcohol content levels over 0.15 percent will increase punishments severely and include a mandatory forty-eight hours in jail before a conviction is made. A third DWI offense will change from a misdemeanor offense to a felony offense or if any DWI offense involves the death of another individual. Punishments can include up to thirty years in prison and five thousand dollars in fines.

BAC Tests

Determining Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is an important part of law enforcement. By measuring the amount of alcohol in a person’s system through various means, officers can determine a level of impairment that may necessitate an arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both.

The method used to determine BAC most commonly involves field sobriety tests, blood samples, and breathalyzer tests. In Louisiana, the Implied Consent Law states that if you hold a driver’s license in the state, you have already consented to such tests. Refusing to take one carries with it the risk of losing your driving privileges.

Though BAC can give strong evidence supporting an officer’s decision to make a DWI arrest, it is not the sole distinction required for conviction. Officers can still deem a driver impaired even without any present alcohol in the system; rather, they must show the driver was impaired due to drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs.

Test Refusal

An individual may refuse to take a blood test, urine test, or breath test but will consequently have his or her driver’s license suspended for a minimum of six months. The court sees a refusal to take a blood alcohol content test as an admission of guilt. Refusing to take a blood alcohol content test a second time will result in driver’s license suspension for a minimum of five hundred forty-five days.

Will the Officer Take My Driver’s License?

When you are pulled over and arrested for a DWI, an officer may take your license. While this can seem harsh, it is actually done with the intent of protecting you. The officer will take your license if you have either refused to take a breathalyzer test, tested above the legal limit or have been formally arrested for a DWI.

Regardless of the situation, your driving privileges will be suspended. You must request an Administrative Hearing within 30 days to contest this suspension. If you do not make this request within the allotted time window, then your license will automatically be put into suspension. Consequently, should you be caught driving at this time, you may face Driving Under Suspension charges; which carries a one-year license suspension and could further complicate your legal matters.

FAQs About Louisiana DUI Laws

What is the penalty for a DUI in Louisiana?

In Louisiana, a first-time DUI conviction carries a fine of up to $1,000 and imprisonment for up to 6 months. For subsequent violations, the penalties become more severe with fines up to $5,000 and sentences ranging from 30 days to 5 years or more in prison.

What happens when you get your first DUI in Louisiana?

When someone receives their first DUI conviction in Louisiana, they will typically face mandatory suspension of their driver’s license for a period of up to one year. Other penalties can include probation, community service, alcohol education programs, and potential jail time.

How likely is jail time for first DUI in Louisiana?

Jail time for a first DUI offense in Louisiana is not mandatory; however, it is possible depending on the circumstances. Generally speaking, if the blood alcohol content (BAC) level was above .20%, or if there was an accident or injury involved, jail time may be imposed.

Do you go to jail for DUI in Louisiana?

It is possible to receive jail time for DUI in Louisiana – however, as mentioned above, it is generally reserved for more serious cases where the BAC was higher than .20% or where there was an accident or injury involved.

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

A DUI stays on your criminal record in Louisiana for 10 years. Additionally, it will remain on your driving record for 5 years from the date of issuance.

How long do you lose your license for DUI in Louisiana?

Driver’s license suspension periods can range from 90 days to up to 1 year for first-time offenders, depending on the individual’s circumstances. For a second DUI conviction within 5 years of the first, the suspension period increases to anywhere from 12 months to 3 years.

How do you get a DUI dismissed in Louisiana?

There are certain scenarios in which a person may be able to get a DUI charge dismissed in Louisiana. This includes cases in which evidence may have been obtained illegally by police or if any paperwork errors were made during the arrest process. However, this is rare and should always be discussed with an attorney.

Can you refuse a DUI checkpoint in Louisiana?

No. In Louisiana, it is illegal to refuse to submit to a chemical test at a sobriety checkpoint. These tests are designed to determine if someone has been drinking and driving, and refusal can result in immediate suspension of the driver’s license.

Do DUIs go away in Louisiana?

Unfortunately, DUIs don’t “go away” in Louisiana – they will remain on both your criminal and driving record for up to 10 years and 5 years respectively. However, certain mitigating factors may result in reduced penalties or suspensions.

How do I get my license back after a DUI in Louisiana?

After serving your suspension period, you can apply to reinstate your driver’s license by paying an administrative fee and providing all necessary documents. You may also be required to provide proof of SR-22 insurance before your license can be returned.

What is the first offense for OWI in Louisiana?

Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) is considered a serious offense in Louisiana. A first OWI conviction can result in hefty fines ranging from $300 to $1000, revocation of the driver’s license for up to one year, randomly administered drug/alcohol tests, community service, alcohol/drug education classes, and possible jail time.

Which state has the highest penalty for DUI?

The state with the most severe penalty for DUI is Arizona, where a first-time offense could result in up to 6 months of jail time and a fine of up to $2500; second offenses carry an increased fine of up to $3,500 and jail time of up to 4 months.

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