Louisiana law states that those driving while intoxicated are to be convicted with 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.
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 with 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.
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.
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 involved the death of another individual. Punishments can include up to thirty years in prison and five thousand dollars in fines.
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 admit 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.