Arrested for DWI: How Long Does it Stay on Your Record in Louisiana?
The Impact Of A DWI On Your Driving Record
If you’re wondering how long does a DUI stay on your driving record in Louisiana, this post will answer all your questions. Here, we’ll give you the information you need to understand what a DWI arrest means for your future.
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is also known as DUI, or Driving Under the Influence, or as OWI, which stands for operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI). If you received a DWI, you probably want to know how long a DWI stays on your record in Louisiana
The 4 Categories Of DWI Offenses
There are four categories of DWI that you should know about. The first and second offenses are considered misdemeanors. However, the third and fourth offenses are classified as felonies.
Apart from jail time, fines, re-education, and community services, a DWI also entails driver’s license penalties.
In Louisiana, a DWI can lead to two types of license suspensions. The first results from the arrest while the second results from a conviction. The two suspensions do run concurrently, however. In other words, the driver doesn’t normally have to complete the two suspensions back-to-back.
While the first two Louisiana DWI offenses are classified as misdemeanors, their implications are serious, because if convicted, the DWI stays on your record.
One of the questions we often have to answer is, “How long does a DWI stay on your record in Louisiana?“
There are several factors to consider when answering this question. Read on to get a broad overview of what needs to be considered.
The Short Answer
The short answer to the question is ten years.
There is a “cleansing period” of ten years, after which a prior DWI conviction or plea in any state, including Louisiana, cannot be used against a person charged with DWI to enhance charges. Enhancement of charges means that penalties cannot be added to the basic penalties already in place for the offense which has been committed.
In 2008, however, the law was amended to extend that ten-year period by excluding all time spent between the date of arrest and time spent on probation. This means that the ten-year period can end up being much longer. Note that it does not matter in which state the charged person incurred the prior DWI.
But, here’s the thing: This ten-year cleansing period applies to the sentencing of DWI convictions only.
The fact is that even if the cleansing period has passed, any Louisiana DWI conviction remains on your criminal record permanently.
There is a way that the DWI can be removed from your criminal record. It is called a DWI expungement. We’re pretty sure you’re interested in learning how to fight your DUI, and we’ll explain how to do so in even more depth. The ability to file a motion to expunge has a lot to do with how long a DWI stays on your record in Louisiana.
As we have mentioned before, DWI is a problematic crime. In fact, it is one of the most complicated crimes anyone can commit in Louisiana. It stays on your record indefinitely, unless you file for an expungement to have your DWI history removed from your public records.
PRO TIP: Read this complete guide on DWI and learn everything about what to expect if you’re charged in Louisiana.
Does Louisiana Allow DWI Expungements?
An expungement is when a conviction is taken off of a person’s public criminal record. Until the law was amended recently, Louisiana did not allow expungements for DWI misdemeanor convictions. The conviction used to stay on your record and affect your insurance rates.
The conviction used to count against you if you were arrested for another crime. It was used to increase penalties such as jail time. Thus, it was important to have the best DUI attorney in order to be found not guilty or have the charge reduced.
The amended Louisiana law on expungements for misdemeanors states that if you did not plead under Article 894(B), you are still eligible for an expungement if five or more years have passed since your sentence was successfully completed.
Louisiana DWI – The 894 Plea
There is a plea option that certain drivers may choose to accept if charged with a DWI.
Pleading guilty under Article 894 lets first-time offenders expunge a DWI conviction from their public records for insurance or employment benefits. The 894 is great because it can reduce how long a DWI stays on your record.
An 894 plea is generally available to misdemeanor DWI cases where the driver has a clean driving record and no criminal record prior to the arrest. A clean record is generally considered to be five years without a violation.
The 894 plea temporarily suspends the DWI conviction and it will not appear on criminal or driving records.
Once the plea has been filed, a person is placed on probation. There may be other requirements such as attending an alcohol education program.
After 2 years, the driver can petition the court to have the DWI conviction officially set aside and treated as an acquittal.
A plea under Article 894 is generally only available once during any 10 year period.
Expungement is Recommended
If you were charged with a DWI in Louisiana, you don’t have to live with it for the rest of your life.
We recommend that you file for a DWI history expungement to remove your DWI history from public records. Government agencies will still be able to see your DWI history, but your life will be made much easier if it does not appear on public records.
There are so many disadvantages if you do not have the DWI conviction expunged from your record:
- Your insurance company may cancel your insurance policy or drastically increase the rates because of your driving record.
- Certain jobs may be closed to you, such as driving a school bus, delivery van, or any other vehicle as part of their employment. In fact, any job application might be negatively affected if you have a DWI conviction on your public record.
You will be needing the help of a DWI attorney in Baton Rouge to help you with your expungement proceeding.
Filing for an expungement can help to minimize the effect of collateral consequences and help you to clean your criminal record from the public. At Carl Barkemeyer, Criminal Defense Attorney, we usually advise our clients to do everything possible to expunge their DWI record.
Expungement is Costly – But Worth It
To expunge your DWI record, you will need to pay a substantial filing fee. You would also need to hire an attorney who can offer you the help you need to successfully have your DWI record expunged.
You have to be eligible for expungement though.
You can request expungement if 5 years have passed since you completed your sentence for DWI.
At the same time, you must ensure that you are not facing any felony charges while filing for an expungement. You should also not have had any felony convictions during the last five years.
Note that you cannot receive an expungement if you have had another record expunged within the past five years. There are a few exceptions to this, and your attorney can guide you through them, if applicable.
As you can see from the above, the expungement process for a Louisiana DWI is quite entailed. If you need more information on how long a DWI stays on your record, click here.
You will need the help of a DWI attorney in Baton Rouge to file for expungement under Article 894 for you, and to help you with the expungement proceeding generally.
At the Barkemeyer Law Firm, we usually advise our clients to do everything possible to expunge their DWI record.
It is in your best interest to contact DWI defense attorney Carl Barkemeyer as soon as possible.