Are DWI Records Public?
If you’ve recently been charged with DWI, you may be wondering are DWI records public? You may even want to learn more about DWI laws and penalties, so we’re going to walk you through everything in this post.
Accessibility Of Criminal Records
In Louisiana, you may know that it is a closed record state. This means that as a person of the general public, you will be unable to obtain any criminal records easily.
However, with that said, employers will have access to any criminal record, including DWI’s, when doing a background check through authorized persons. And the individuals you may be most concerned about learning of your DWI are most likely your employers.
Important Facts Regarding Your Criminal Record
With that said, there are many restrictions when it comes to getting a criminal record, there are independent websites that will allow you to obtain some criminal records in Louisiana. These are known as aggregate websites. Many people are using these websites and third-party sites to obtain criminal records.
A DWI is considered part of a criminal record. And if you are faced with DWI charges you will likely need a DWI lawyer to help you. This also means that people who go through these sites will be able to view if you have had a DWI or not.
What Exactly Is DWI?
A DUI and DWI are almost the same thing. DUI will stand for driving while under the influence whereas a DWI is driving while intoxicated. Both can be handed out to someone who is operating a vehicle that has a motor that is under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or both. However, the person’s judgement must be impaired to an extent to get this charge.
For example, if someone were driving a car and had a single drink and drove, they would not be charged with either of these. Whereas someone who has been drinking for hours decides to drive, they are going to be charged with one of the two mentioned because they are not going to be driving properly because they are impaired.
You can also get charged with a DUI or DWI if you are driving a skateboard that has a motor, a scooter, or even a boat.
How Does Someone Know I am Intoxicated/Under the Influence?
When someone consumes alcohol or drugs, the body will metabolize it. Once this happens, it will enter your bloodstream. This means that the chemicals that have entered your body are circulating through your lungs, especially with alcohol. Because of this, a breathalyzer can be used to measure your BAC or blood alcohol content.
What is the Legal Limit?
You should never be driving after drinking or doing drugs. However, there is a legal limit in which you can drive after consumption. In the state of Louisiana, your blood alcohol content (BAC) should not be above 0.08. If you are above this number, you are considered legally intoxicated.
Keep in mind that if you are given a breathalyzer and fail it with numbers above .08, that is all that is needed to give you a charge of a DWI.
Pulled Over for DWI/DUI
You are likely to get pulled over if you are intoxicated because your abilities are impaired. This means that you are having trouble with telling distance and seeing straight. A police officer may notice your struggles and pull you over. This is where you will be asked if you were drinking. If the police officer suspects alcohol, or can smell it, you will likely have to do a field sobriety test and a breathalyzer.
When you are pulled over, you should not refuse this test. If you refuse the test that is offered, you can face immediate penalties and harsher penalties than if you just took the test. One of the punishments for refusing a test is loss of license for as long as a year.
It is also not recommended that you try to mask it either. While many people believe that chewing on mints or mint gum can throw a breathalyzer, you are wrong. The mint smell may mask the smell of alcohol, but it will not change what is seen on a breathalyzer. Keep in mind that a breathalyzer does not measure your breath from your mouth. It is measuring the air coming from your lungs where the blood has been circulating with the alcohol chemicals in it. All a mint will do is mask the smell of alcohol on your breath.
Punishments For DWI Charges
Getting pulled over and charged with a DUI or DWI is going to have consequences. For your first conviction you can expect the following:
- A fine of up to one thousand dollars.
- Jail/Prison for up to six months.
- You will have probation and be enrolled in a program for substance abuse.
- Community service may be required depending on your specific case.
If you are caught a second time driving while intoxicated, you can expect the following:
- A fine of up to one thousand dollars.
- Up to six months in jail or prison but no less than 30 days (about 4 and a half weeks).
- 48 days (about 1 and a half months) of mandatory jail without probation or sentence suspension.
- Community service may be required.
- Substance abuse classes and training.
Wrapping Up: Are DWI Records Public?
You now know the consequences and procedures for DWI. You also know that they are not available to the public very easily. However, they are going to be on your criminal record that employers can see and anyone can search.
If you meet certain criteria, you can get this charge expunged or erased from your criminal record. For the best chances of getting your DWI or DUI off your record, contact a criminal law attorney such as Barkemeyer Law Firm. They can answer all of your questions regarding the question are DWI records public.