New Orleans DWI: Drinking and Driving Laws in Louisiana

 

DWI Attorney – New Orleans

 

By:  Elizabeth B. Carpenter, Esq.

 

Louisiana is a member of the Interstate Drivers License Compact – an agreement between participating states to share information regarding certain types of convictions including DUI / DWI and related Drunk Driving offenses. If a resident of one state gets convicted of a drunk driving offense in another state, the driver’s home state will be notified. The type of action the driver’s home state will take varies from state to state.

 
In the State of Louisiana it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or above. The .08 BAC limit is the standard measurement across the United States for an “Impaired” driver. Louisiana has lower BAC limits for drivers under the age of 21 (.02%) and drivers of commercial vehicles (.04%). The Louisiana driving while intoxicated (DWI) law also covers the use of drugs such as marijuana, amphetamines, tranquilizers and barbiturates. The penalty for driving under the influence of drugs is the same as driving under the influence of alcohol.

 

FIRST DUI DWI – DRUNK DRIVING CONVICTION – MISDEMEANOR
The penalty for a first DUI DWI – drunk driving conviction in Louisiana

• Incarceration:

  • Minimum of 10 days to a maximum of 6 months
  • The sentence may be reduced to 2 days if the offender is placed on probation and participates in a court-approved substance abuse program and a driver improvement program
  • The sentence may be entirely suspended if the offender performs 4 8-hour days of community service, half of which consists of litter abatement and also participates in a court-approved substance abuse program and a driver improvement program
  • If the offender had a blood alcohol concentration of .15 percent or more, there is a mandatory 2 day sentence

• Driver’s license suspension:

o If the driver submitted to a chemical test:

  • 1 year
  • 180 days if under age 21
  • 2 years if the blood alcohol content is above .20 percent

o If the driver refused to submit to a chemical test:

  • 1 year

o A restricted license may be granted in many situations if the driver agrees to the installation of a functioning ignition interlock device approved by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections for the period of suspension. There is no eligibility for a hardship license if a fatality occurred or a person sustained serious bodily injury as a result of the accident and the driver’s intoxication is found to be a contributing factor to the fatality or injury.

• Fines:

  • $300-$1,000 if under .20 percent blood alcohol concentration
  • $750-$1,000 if .20 percent or greater blood alcohol concentration

 

 

SECOND DUI DWI – DRUNK DRIVING CONVICTION – MISDEMEANOR
The penalty for a second DUI DWI – drunk driving conviction in Louisiana

• Incarceration:

  • Minimum of 30 days to a maximum of 6 months
  • Mandatory 2 day minimum sentence
  •  The sentence may be reduced to 15 days if the offender is placed on probation and participates in a court-approved substance abuse program and a driver improvement program
  • The sentence may be reduced to 2 days if the offender performs 30 8-hour days of community service, half of which consists of litter abatement and also participates in a court-approved substance abuse program and a driver improvement program
  • If the offender had a blood alcohol concentration of .15 percent or more, there is a mandatory 4 day sentence

• Driver’s license suspension:

o If the driver submitted to a chemical test:

  • 1 year, without eligibility for a hardship license
  • 180 days if under age 21
  • 4 years if the blood alcohol content is above .20 percent; mandatory 3 years of ignition interlock device installation

o If the driver refused to submit to a chemical test:

  • 1 year if this is the first refusal
  • 2 years if this is the second refusal within 5 years of the first

o A restricted license may be granted in many situations if the driver agrees to the installation of a functioning ignition interlock device approved by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections for the period of suspension. There is no eligibility for a hardship license if a fatality occurred or a person sustained serious bodily injury as a result of the accident and the driver’s intoxication is found to be a contributing factor to the fatality or injury.

• Fines:

  • $750-$1,000 if under .20 percent blood alcohol concentration
  •  $1,000 if .20 percent or greater blood alcohol concentration

o 6 months mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, must remain installed and operating during the entire period of the suspended sentence.

 

 

THIRD DUI DWI – DRUNK DRIVING CONVICTION – FELONY
The penalty for a third DUI DWI – drunk driving conviction in Louisiana

• Incarceration:

  • Minimum of 1 year to a maximum of 5 years, with or without hard labor
  • Mandatory minimum of 1 year without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of the sentence.
  • The court may suspend any additional portion of the sentence beyond the 1 year minimum if the offender is placed on probation for the same amount of time and participates in 30 8-hour days of community service.

The offender must also:

  • Undergo an immediate evaluation to determine the nature and extent of the offender’s substance abuse disorder and to participate in a treatment program, including inpatient treatment for a period of not less than 4 weeks followed by outpatient treatment not to exceed 12 months; or, participate in substance abuse treatment in an alcohol and drug abuse program provided by an approved provider.
  • Serve 6 months up to the remainder of the sentence in home incarceration, which requires:
  • Electronic monitoring, curfew restrictions, and home visitation by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections for the first 6 months
  • Obtain employment and participate in a court appointed driver improvement program.

• Driver’s license suspension:

o If the driver submitted to a chemical test:

  • 1 year, without eligibility for a hardship license
  • 180 days if under age 21
  • 4 years if the blood alcohol content is above .20 percent; mandatory 3 years of ignition interlock device installation

o If the driver refused to submit to a chemical test:

  • 1 year if this is the first refusal
  • 2 years if this is the second or subsequent refusal within 5 years of the first

o A restricted license may be granted in many situations if the driver agrees to the installation of a functioning ignition interlock device approved by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections for the period of suspension. There is no eligibility for a hardship license if a fatality occurred or a person sustained serious bodily injury as a result of the accident and the driver’s intoxication is found to be a contributing factor to the fatality or injury.

• Fines:

  • $2,000
  • The court may order that the vehicle being driven by the offender at the time of the offense be seized, impounded and sold at auction to pay court costs, towing and storage fees.
  • Ignition interlock device must be installed until substance abuse treatment and home incarceration is completed.

 

 

FORTH DUI DWI – DRUNK DRIVING CONVICTION – FELONY
The penalty for a third DUI DWI – drunk driving conviction in Louisiana:

• Incarceration:

  • Minimum of 10 years to a maximum of 30 years, with or without hard labor
  • Mandatory minimum of 2 years without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of the sentence.
  • The court may suspend any additional portion of the sentence beyond the 2 year minimum if the offender is placed on probation for the same amount of time, not more than 5 years, and participates in 40 8-hour days of community service.

The offender must also:

  • Undergo an evaluation to determine the nature and extend of the offender’s substance abuse disorder and to participate in any treatment plan recommended by the evaluation, including inpatient treatment for a period of not less than 4 weeks followed by outpatient treatment not to exceed 12 months or participate in a substance abuse treatment program
  • Serve 1 year to the remainder of the sentence in home incarceration, which requires:
  • Electronic monitoring, curfew restrictions, and home visitation by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections for the first 6 months
  • Obtain employment and participate in a court appointed driver improvement program.

• Driver’s license suspension:

o If the driver submitted to a chemical test:

  • 1 year, without eligibility for a hardship license
  • 180 days if under age 21
  • 4 years if the blood alcohol content is above .20 percent; mandatory 3 years of ignition interlock device installation

o If the driver refused to submit to a chemical test:

  • 1 year if this is the first refusal
  • 2 years if this is the second or subsequent refusal within 5 years of the first

o A restricted license may be granted in many situations if the driver agrees to the installation of a functioning ignition interlock device approved by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections for the period of suspension. There is no eligibility for a hardship license if a fatality occurred or a person sustained serious bodily injury as a result of the accident and the driver’s intoxication is found to be a contributing factor to the fatality or injury.

• Fines:

  • $5,000
  • The court may order that the vehicle being driven by the offender at the time of the offense be seized, impounded and sold at auction to pay court costs, towing and storage fees.
  • Ignition interlock device must be installed until substance abuse treatment and home incarceration is completed.

 

 

Out of State Convictions

Under Louisiana state law, an alcohol related driving conviction in any other state, municipality or town which prohibits the operation of any motor vehicle while intoxicated shall constitute a prior conviction.

 

DWI / DUI Louisiana Cleansing Period

In the state of Louisiana, there is a 10 year period for a prior DWI arrest to not affect the sentencing of a current DWI conviction. In other words, if your second DWI arrest is more than ten years after your first, you will be charged with a first offense DWI instead of a second. However, if at any time during these ten years you were incarcerated, that time does not count towards the ten year cleansing period.

 

Contact

If you have been arrested for a DWI, contact a skilled New Orleans DWI Defense Attorney for consultation.

 

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