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DWI v. OWI in Louisiana

Have you ever been confused as to what constitutes a DWI or what constitutes an OWI in Louisiana? If you have, then you would be happy to know that we have the answer right here. We would also consider if both of them are felonies and if so, which one can be considered to be worse. The answers would surely surprise. Let us start by trying to figure out what a DWI or OWI is.

Understanding DWI and OWI

The meaning of the term DWI is driving while intoxicated while OWI means operating while intoxicated. In Louisiana, the two offenses are one and the same. In fact, the real name for DWI charges would be OWI which is in accordance with LA RS 14:98. Thus, when you are actually being charged for DWI, you are also in effect being charged for OWI.

So now, that we know that they are both the same thing in the city of Louisiana, the best thing you can do is to make sure that you do not get convicted of a DWI/OWI charge. Getting convicted could have a tremendous effect on your lives and educational goals. If you have been charged with a DWI offense in Louisiana, it would be in your best interests to get a DWI lawyer in Baton Rouge. Our lawyers know how bad a DWI charge can be and we try our best to make sure that our clients are properly defended at all times.

However, the question remains. Are DWI or OWI felonies?

DWI felony or misdemeanor?

It can sometimes be confusing to tell if DWI charges are felonies or are simply misdemeanors. The truth is that the answer has more to do with the number of times you have been convicted for the same offense.

The general rule guiding DWI charges is that most first-time offenders are not guilty of felonies except in special circumstances. This means that most DWI charges on first-time offenders are viewed to be misdemeanors. As earlier stated, there are special circumstances where first time offenders may be considered as having committed a felony. Here are such circumstances;

Harm to others

If you are driving drunk and harm comes to other people, you would most likely be charged for a felony. This is regardless of whether it was someone outside the car or inside the car that you were driving.

Also, if you were speeding or you do not stop at the stop sign and you hit a moving vehicle on the other lane, the chances of you getting charged with felony DWI is at a very high side. This would even be worse if people are injured during the clash.

Suspended license

Another time where you could be charged as a felony is if you are driving with a suspended license or no license at all. This would be regarded as a felony and could have very bad consequences in the city of Louisiana.

Blood Alcohol Level

In most states including the state of Louisiana, you could face DWI charges if your alcohol content is above the .08 level that has been set. However, things could get even worse for you if it goes even higher. Most states including Louisiana would feel compelled to charge you with a felony if it reaches .16 level in your blood.

The general principle guiding this is that the higher the alcohol content that is found in your blood, the more likely you would be to face DWI felony charges.

When DWI charges will surely be felonies

Apart from those special occasions, DWI charges are usually felonies when they are repeated offenses. This means that if you have been convicted of DWI or DUI in other states or in the state of Louisiana in previous times, you would most likely be facing felony charges in Louisiana. If you have gotten a hardship license after yours have been suspended for DWI problems, then you would probably get a felony charge if you are charged with DWI again.

To avoid all the troubles which can come from DWI, it is always better to avoid it in the first place. Making sure you obey all the rules relating to driving would ensure that it is not a problem for you. If you ever get charged in Baton Rouge, Louisiana or in any other parish, getting a DWI lawyer in Baton Rouge would prove to be very helpful indeed. Our criminal defense attorneys we would be ready to assist you in any way that we can. We make it our duty to analyze every case that we can with an aim to give our clients a good defense in any litigation process.

It is important to note that another thing which would probably get you a felony charge from DWI is a failure to install the interlock device as requested by the authorities on previous occasions. If you were found to be guilty, you would most likely have to face charges relating to DWI.

If you are in Louisiana and you are going through issues relating to DWI, this is surely not the right time to slack in taking action. Getting a DWI attorney should be the first thing on your mind. Time is not on your side as the sooner you get a lawyer, the faster they would be able to get you prepared for what is in store. The drunk driving lawyers at the Barkemeyer Law Firm would be always happy to take up your case for you. We realize how serious this case is and would be willing to help you in any way that we can.

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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