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DWI Q & A

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10Aug

DWI Questions and Answers

DWI questions and answers: If you have been arrested for DWI or DUI, the article should help answer some important questions you may have. The information we provide was written by Mr. Barkemeyer, a Louisiana DWI lawyer with over 18 years experience. He wrote the published book on DWI in Louisiana which can be purchased on Amazon. Most of the information you read online is written by AI or content writers in India. This is not that.

However, don’t consider this as formal legal advice. Every case is different because every defendant and set of facts differ, as well as every state. The answers here are based on general law and more specifically, Louisiana law. If you’ve been arrested, hire a DWI lawyer.

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Common DWI Questions And Answers

Below we will uncover some common DWI questions and answers if you are facing criminal charges related to driving while intoxicated.

How much does a DWI cost in Louisiana?

The attorney fees for a misdemeanor DWI can vary from around $3500-6500 for a competent and experienced DWI lawyer. If you go cheaper than that, you may be hiring a lawyer who is just trying to get experience on your case.

After the completion of probation, ignition interlock device, classes, attorney fees, etc., the total estimated cost of a DWI charge in Louisiana is $7500-10,000. The cost to having a DWI charge is high because the cases may extend over a long period of time and require many fees that accrue significantly over time. A defense lawyer may try to minimize the financial cost by negotiating terms with the prosecutor and judge when possible.

Dig deeper…

How long does a DWI stay on a driving record in Louisiana?

A DWI charge cannot be removed from a driving record through the expungement process in Louisiana. The expungement process is used to remove a criminal record from the public view. However, insurance companies vary as to how long driving records go back for DWI charges. Also, insurance companies differentiate whether the incident was only a DWI arrest or a conviction.

How long is jail time for DWI arrest in Louisiana?

A suspect will be held in jail for a DWI arrest in Louisiana until a bond has been posted. The bond provides assurance to the court that the suspect will appear in court to answer to the DWI charge. The bail amount will be set by the judge and is based on whether the charge is DWI first offense or felony DWI. Also, the judge will consider if other charges exist such as hit and run or drug possession.  Judges can also allow the arrestee to be released on their own recognizance. Since COVID, some officers have been releasing DWI arrestees on a summons only without even booking the arrestee.

How much will a DWI ticket cost in Louisiana?

The fines for a DWI ticket range from $750-5000. A Louisiana DWI fine is not like a speeding ticket because it is a court-required criminal charge and considered a serious misdemeanor.  Many times, we will go to some of the court dates for our clients so they do not need to miss school or work. Every judge is different. Nevertheless, DWI is not a charge you just go to court and pay. There are negative consequences to your license, insurance, criminal record, etc. Always seek the assistance of a DWI lawyer if you received a charge.

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What is the first step after a DWI arrest in Louisiana?

The first step is to request in writing an Administrative Hearing within 30 days of the DWI arrest. A defense lawyer should request the hearing if hired immediately.  We do so for our clients. Depending on the circumstances of your case, there are other proactive steps we may advise you to take now that may help your case such as treatment, classes, paying restitution, and more.

What is required at a DWI checkpoint?

 At a DWI checkpoint, a driver is required to pull over as instructed by the officer and stop the vehicle.  Then, the driver is asked to present his or her driver’s license, registration, and insurance. A driver is not required to perform field sobriety tests or chemical tests unless a warrant has been obtained. 

How does a DWI bond work?

After the judge sets the bail amount, a person can go to the jail and post a cash bond with the sheriff in the full amount of the bail or hire a bail bondsman and pay him 12%. If the surety pays a cash bond, he or she will get it all back after the defendant goes to court. If the surety hires a bail bondsman for the DWI, he or she will not get the 12% back. That is the bondsman’s fee for putting up the entire amount.

How to avoid losing a CDL after a DWI arrest?

 In order to avoid losing a CDL license in Louisiana the defense lawyer should request the Administrative Hearing and argue against losing the CDL.  This requires the attorney to examine the police officer’s reports which may include certifications for the intoxilyzer, operator, and maintenance technician. Then, the attorney will have to negotiate against the DWI charge in criminal court as well.

How to expunge a DWI felony arrest and conviction?

A felony DWI conviction must conclude with a sentence under article 893, receive a governor’s pardon, or 10 years has elapsed since completion of the sentence. The defendant must file a Motion to Expunge the record, which must be approved by the judge to get the felony DWI arrest and conviction expunged. The process can take up to a year to complete and costs $600 in filing fees plus attorney fees if you hire a lawyer.

What happens to a driver’s license after DWI first offense?

If a defendant is convicted for DWI first offense in Louisiana, his or her license could be suspended for one year. This suspension is separate from the refusal or submittal over the limit. For instance, if it is DWI first offense but the driver blew .20 or above, he would be looking at a license suspension of two years. Therefore, if you are arrested for DWI, you could lose your license as a result of refusing the breathalyzer or submitting over the limit as well as a conviction in criminal court.

What are the fees for reinstatement of a driver’s license after DWI Louisiana?

Typically, the reinstatement fees are generally around $150. However, they vary based on other aspects of the case. Also, reinstatement of the license could come with a condition that the driver have the ignition interlock device installed. This would be in the situation when the license is not suspended, however they have a prior DWI and recent refusal of the breathalyzer.

Is a DWI or OWI a felony in Louisiana and which one is worse?

DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) and OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) are the same charge in Louisiana.  The actual name of the charge in Louisiana is Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated which is found under La RS 14:98. The DWI statute involves driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. DWI first and second offense are misdemeanors. DWI third, fourth and subsequent offenses are felony charges.

How long does a DWI affect getting a job?

A DWI arrest record or a DWI arrest and conviction may appear on a criminal record. Either way, they will remain on the criminal record until the expungement process is complete.  Depending on whether or not someone was convicted, and the sentence received determines when someone can file the expungement.  Also, if the defendant participates in a pretrial diversion program for a DWI charge in Louisiana, he or she must wait five years before filing an expungement to remove the arrest.

How much is the bond for 1st DWI?

Depending on where the DWI arrest occurred, the bail amount for a DWI first offense is usually set by a judge or can also follow a scheduled bail.  Typically, the bail is set around $2500 for a DWI first offense. If the defendant is unable to pay the bond, he or she can hire a bondsman to put up the bond. The defendant will pay the bondsman 10-12% of the bail amount, which is the bond fee for putting up the entire amount.

How long until you can have a DWI expunged?

 Once the motion to expunge a DWI is filed in Louisiana, it can take a few months to go through or even up to one year.  Most of the problems with expungements occur because the defendant will file it himself and provide misinformation that goes into the motion.  The state will then send it back and the defendant will lose his/her money and time.  An expungement attorney will be able to achieve a clean criminal record.

How long does a DWI charge stay on the driving record and will it affect insurance?

DWI arrests and convictions will remain on the driving record forever.  No motion exists for removing an entry from your driving record. For concerns regarding a DWI arrest or conviction and the implications for insurance, one should contact his or her insurance provider or multiple insurance companies to see what their policy is regarding a DWI arrest and/or conviction on the driving record. 

The insurance companies will have specific guidelines for writing policies for those with DWI records. Insurance companies are private companies that can choose to insure someone or not.  Some insurance companies retain records for seven years, or longer.

What to expect if charged with DWI in Louisiana?

If the driver refused the breathalyzer or blew over the limit, he or she will have 30 days from the date of arrest to request an Administrative Hearing to fight the suspension of his or her driver’s license or driving privileges in Louisiana (if out-of-stat).  After that 30 days has passed, the driver loses the right to request the license hearing.

What is the sentence for 3rd DWI?

DWI Third Offense is a felony in Louisiana punishable for 1-5 years and a fine of up to $2000.  The legislature created the law to require that the defendant receives a prison sentence. However, recent changes have allowed for exceptions if the defendant completes a drug diversion program.

How much jail-time for DWI with child endangerment?

For DWI first offense, the judge could sentence the defendant to at least 10 days up to six months in parish jail if convicted under the child endangerment statute and DWI in Louisiana.  If the charge is a DWI second offense, jail time can be 30 days to six months.  This is a very serious provision of the statute. Judges vary greatly as to how they sentence pursuant to the child endangerment provision of the DWI statute.

How to obtain driver’s license after 1st DWI?

There are many ways to continue driving after receiving a DWI in Louisiana.  If the license has become suspended, the defendant may apply for a hardship license at the DMV. The primary requirement to getting a hardship license in Louisiana is to first have an ignition interlock device installed.  If the case involves a refusal or conviction, the DMV may require the driver to present proof of an SR-22 insurance certificate.

What is blood alcohol level for a DWI?

The blood alcohol content level for the presumption of being under the influence of alcohol is 0.08 or more in Louisiana.  If the driver is under the age of 21 years old, the legal limit is under 0.02 before the presumption of the driver being under the influence of alcohol kicks in. If the driver is under 21 years old and blows .08 or above, he could be charged with adult DWI instead of Underage DWI.

How long do you have to carry SR-22 insurance after DWI?

The DMV requires the driver to carry SR-22 insurance to continue to drive after a DWI refusal or conviction.  The driver will have to carry it for the specified period of time stipulated by the DMV, which is usually the period of suspension. For a first refusal or first offense DWI conviction, the period of suspension is one year, but there are other variables that may affect that time period.

How to get a temporary license for a DWI?

At the time of the DWI arrest, the driver should receive a temporary license which is valid for 30 days from the date of arrest. That period of time is granted by law to give the attorney time to request the Administrative Hearing. 

How long is the license suspended for a DWI?

The license suspension varies based on whether or not the defendant was convicted of DWI, refused the breathalyzer, submitted over the legal limit, and if any prior DWI arrests, convictions, submittals, and refusals exist.

After a DWI arrest, is the license automatically suspended?

A driver’s license is not automatically suspended after being arrested for DWI.  The defendant will have 30 days from the date of arrest to request an Administrative Hearing for the proposed suspension of driving privileges.  During that 30 days, the defendant can drive on the temporary license.

What may the sentence be for a 2nd DWI?

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, home incarceration for that 48 hours is an option, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case.  The fine is for a second DWI charge 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.

What are the fines for DWI first offense?

The fines for a DWI first offense conviction in Louisiana are $300-1000.

How can a DWI charge be a felony?

 Here is another one of our common DWI questions and answers. To be charged with a felony DWI in Louisiana, the defendant must have two prior DWI convictions within the last ten years regardless of whether or not the convictions were in different states or if the prior conviction happened after the arrest for the current charge. Even if the prior DWI was expunged, it will likely still show to the prosecutor and he or she may use it to enhance the new DWI. The ten-year time period starts after the defendant completed probation on the previous DWI up to the date of arrest for the current charge.

Barkemeyer Law Firm Can Answer Your Questions On DWI

Our firm defends clients primarily charged with DWI and DUI.  Our DWI lawyers handle cases in all areas of Louisiana. If you’ve been arrested for DWI, reach out to us here or visit one of our locations. If we are not close to you, we can still handle your DWI. Lawyers are not bound to practice only in the city they have an office. Our DWI lawyers are licensed in the entire State of Louisiana.

We hope that these DWI questions and answers have been helpful!

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

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