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DWI in Louisiana: 10 Things You Should Know

louisiana dwi dui laws and penalties
DWI Laws and Penalties in Louisiana

Barkemeyer Law Firm defends clients in all parishes and cities in Louisiana who have been arrested for misdemeanor DWI and felony-grade DUI. The firm includes experienced and skilled Louisiana DWI lawyers who keep up with the ever-changing laws regarding Operating a Vehicle while Intoxicated in Louisiana. See the list below for some of the key issues surrounding an arrest for DWI in Louisiana. 

Vintage video from 2012 but it is still applicable today (except the 15 days to request hearing – it is now 30 days).

1. You basically have two cases: criminal and administrative (license)

DWI is a crime. If you are convicted, you will be considered to have a criminal conviction on your record. The criminal case takes place in a courthouse. You and your lawyer will go to a courtroom and deal with a prosecutor and judge. This is the stage where we examine the reports and video and choose to go to trial, plead guilty, or work it out with the prosecutor. Usually, the court date is the appearance date on your bond paperwork or at the bottom of your ticket.

The Administrative Hearing is requested by your attorney within 30 days from the date of arrest. Be sure not to miss this time period or else you lose the right to request it. This Hearing is so we can fight the proposed suspension of your driver’s license. The State will attempt to suspend your license if you refused the breathalyzer or blew over the limit. You will be given a 30-day temporary license after the arrest. We will request the hearing to make the State prove they can take your license.

2. DWI defined

DWI and DUI are the same in Louisiana. DWI is the operation of a vehicle when the operator is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs fall under the same statute. Operating a vehicle wile under the influence or drugs, whether prescribed or not, alcohol, or both is illegal. So, if you blew 0.00, but you were still arrested for DUI, the officer must have thought you were under the influence of drugs. He can request you take a drug test and he can get a search warrant to take blood for the drug test.

3. Underage DWI BAC is .02

However, if a minor blows over .08, he/she may be charged with regular DWI, which carries harsher penalties. There are many benefits to having an underage DWI charge instead of an adult DWI charge such as the underage DWI conviction doesn’t count as an enhancement towards a future adult DWI.

4. DWI first and second offense is a misdemeanor

Sentencing may include jail time, probation, community service, and participation in a driver improvement and substance abuse program(s). The sentence for a DWI second offense in Louisiana is 30 days to six months in jail, and 48 hours of the sentence must be served. The judge can suspend all but the 48 hours. Sometimes, we are able to get home incarceration for our clients for that 48 hours. It just depends on the facts and circumstances of the case. The fine is $750 – $1000. The judge must also order the defendant to complete 240 hours of community service, participate in a driver improvement program, do a substance abuse evaluation and/or treatment, and other conditions.

5. DWI third offense and beyond is a felony

A conviction of third offense DWI may result in up to 5 years in prison and possibly 10 years for fourth offense DWI. DWI Third Offense is a felony in Louisiana punishable for 1-5 years and a fine of up to $2000. This is a very serious charge not to be taken lightly. The legislature has made the law so that the defendant must be sentenced to prison. However, recent changes have allowed for exceptions if the defendant completes a drug division program. This is an extremely intense program.

6. Your driver’s license may be suspended if you are convicted of DWI

However, you may be eligible to apply for a hardship license. The hardship license will require you to install the ignition interlock device in your car and show proof to the DMV. Do not get caught driving without the hardship license if your license is suspended. You could then be facing another criminal charge of Driving Under Suspension which has a mandatory sentence of one-year suspension of your license. If you need a hardship license, go to the DMV and ask.

7. If you refuse the breathalyzer, you may lose your driver’s license for one year

If you submit and blow over the legal limit, you may lose your license for 90 days. If you submit and blow over .20, you could lose your license for 2 years. If you are convicted of DWI, you may lose your license for one year.

8. 30 Day Time Limit

You have 30 days from the date of arrest to request an administrative hearing to get your driver’s license back. You should hire an attorney to request the hearing and conduct the administrative hearing.

9. A DWI conviction can affect your insurance, employment, school enrollment, and criminal record

As a result of a DWI conviction, your auto insurance provider may cancel your policy, exclude you as a driver, and/or raise your premiums to keep the policy. Every insurance company and policy is different. DWI convictions produce a blemish on your criminal record that is accessible to employers and educational institutions. Therefore, we have to get the case set up that best protects your criminal record for the future.

10. You need a skilled and knowledgeable DWI lawyer

Carl Barkemeyer is a Louisiana DWI defense attorney that has represented hundreds clients throughout Louisiana charged with misdemeanor and felony DWI. He is very knowledgeable concerning the intricate laws relating to DWI. For 18 years, he has fought all types of DWI cases with all types of scenarios. He has outlined 10 important things you should know if you have received a Driving While Intoxicated charge in Louisiana. Contact Baton Rouge DWI lawyer Carl Barkemeyer at (225) 964-6720 to discuss DWI defense representation.

Contact our Louisiana DUI lawyers at the Barkemeyer Law Firm for help.

Carl Barkemeyer wrote the published book on DWI: Practical Information for the Accused and Attorneys in Louisiana. He regularly gives lectures and advice to other attorneys regarding how to successfully defend clients for DWI.

Louisiana DWI & Criminal Lawyers

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Louisiana criminal lawyers and DWI attorneys at the Barkemeyer Law Firm providing legal defense services for clients in Baton Rouge, Ascension, Livingston, Tangipahoa, Port Allen, Alexandria, New Orleans, Lafayette, Metairie, Kenner, Gretna, Hahnville, Chalmette, Slidell, St. Tammany, St. Charles, St. John, St. Bernard, Mandeville, Covington, Shreveport, Bossier, Jefferson, and all of Louisiana.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not formal legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.

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Louisiana DWI And Criminal Law Firm

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