Louisiana DUI Law
Driving under the influence of intoxication is against law in the state of Louisiana. There are several definitions that can apply to driving under the influence in Louisiana. DUI or DWI can occur if the operator of a vehicle is operating the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, has a BAC of .10% or more, has consumed and is under the influence of narcotics, CNS stimulants, hallucinogens, or barbiturates, has fled the scene of an accident is has consumed alcoholic beverages, is under the influence of a combination of alcohol and drugs where the drug had a warning label against alcohol interactions, or is under the influence of a legal drug and has taken more than the prescribed dosage. If you have been arrested for operating a vehicle in any of these scenarios, hiring a Louisiana DUI lawyer is your best chance for presenting a successful events and avoiding conviction or harsh penalties if convicted.
The penalties for a first DUI offense in Louisiana are fines of $300-$1000 and 10 days to 6 months of prison time. This sentence can be suspended only if the offender serves two days of imprisonment or 4 eight-hour days of community service; participates in a court-approved substance abuse program and driver improvement program; and accepts an additional mandatory 90 day driver’s license suspension. If the offender’s BAC was .15% or higher, he or she must serve at least 48 hours of the jail sentence without the relief of probation, suspension or parole. The penalties for a second DUI offense in Louisiana are a fine of $750-$1,000 and a prison term of 30 days to 6 months. 48 hours of this jail sentence must be served without the offender having the relief of probation, suspension or parole. The sentence may be suspended if the offender serves 15 days in prison or 30 days of community service 8 hours long; participation in a court-approved substance abuse program and driver improvement program; agrees to an additional 12-month driver’s license suspension; and has an ignition interlock device for at least 6 months. If the offender’s BAC was .15% or higher, 4 days of the jail sentence must be served without the possibility of sentence suspension or probation or parole.
The penalties for a third offense are a fine of $2,000 and one year to five years of jail time. A minimum of 30 days of jail time must be served without the relief of probation, suspension or parole. The remaining time of the jail sentence is suspended and the offender is sentenced to participate in inpatient substance abuse programs for 4 to 6 weeks. Another 12 months of outpatient treatment can be assigned if recommended after an alcohol evaluation. House arrest is an option once an offender has successfully completed the inpatient treatment program. If the offender does not finish this program or does not comply with the terms of house arrest, he or she will be put in jail for the original amount of jail time scheduled without any credit for the time served being on house arrest. The penalties for a fourth offense are a fine of $5,000 and prison time of not less than 10 and not more than 30 years at hard labor. 60 days of this term must be served without suspension or probation. The offender may be sentenced to an inpatient treatment program for 4 to 6 weeks and additional outpatient treatment for up to one year if recommended by a treatment professional. Once treatment is completed successfully, the rest of the jail sentence can be suspended and served through house arrest.
Enhancement for Child Endangerment
If there is a child of 12 or under in the vehicle at the time of a DUI offense, the penalties for a DUI will be enhanced. In this case, the minimum mandatory jail sentence for each level has to be served without being suspended in favor of other penalties. This is a serious case, so having a Louisiana DUI lawyer on your side can help you to minimize the impact of this type of charge.
Refusing to submit to chemical testing or taking a chemical test yielding a BAC result of .10% or greater will result in confiscation of your driver’s license by the law enforcement officer conducting the traffic stop. A temporary license will be issued that is good for 30 days. You will then have ten days to request an administrative hearing in writing. If you miss this deadline, the temporary license automatically becomes invalid after 30 days and the suspension takes place as expected. If you are granted a hearing, you will be able to try to defend yourself against a suspension. If you do not prove that the suspension is invalid, the suspension will take effect once the hearing has concluded. The penalty for a first offense is a 90 day suspension with eligibility for a hardship license after 30 days of the suspension. Second and subsequent offenses occurring within 5 years of a prior offense carry a 365 day suspension with no opportunity to receive a hardship license. Refusal carries a 180 day suspension with no eligibility for a hardship license until 90 days have passed. A second refusal to submit to a blood test will result in a 545 day suspension with no opportunity to receive a hardship license. If you have only had one DUI offense, you may be able to get a hardship license. This is a restricted license that lists the times you are allowed to drive. You will have to pay $50 for the license plus the licensing cost. If you violate these restrictions and get caught, the restricted license can be cancelled and you will have no driving privileges for 6 months.
If you’re under the age of 21, it is a crime to operate a vehicle while your BAC level is .02% or greater. If your BAC level tested at .10% or greater, you will face the same charges and penalties as persons over the age of 21. The penalties for an underage DUI vary by level of offense. A first offense is a fine of $100-$250 and the offender must participate in a driver improvement and alcohol treatment program. The penalties for a second offense are a fine of $150-$500 and prison time of not less than 10 days and not more than more than here months. The offender’s sentence can be suspended if he or she is placed on probation with a minimum of 48 hours in jail and participation in a court-approved substance abuse and driver improvement program, or the offender is placed on probation with a minimum condition that he or she perform 10 eight-hour days of court-approved community service activities, with half of the service being devoted to a litter cleanup or abatement program. The offender must also participate in substance abuse and driver improvement programs and accept an additional 180 day license suspension. These charges and penalties have the potential to make life difficult and tarnish your reputation because of your new criminal record. You can come out of the DUI criminal cases by having a Louisiana DUI attorney on your side and prevents your administrative license suspension.