It depends on the number of prior convictions for DWI within 10 years prior to arrest. If the person charged with DWI has one or zero prior DWI convictions, not arrest(s), then the current charge would be a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor DWI includes a sentencing range of up to 6 months in parish jail. Mandatory time may also be included if it is a second offense and/or if the BAC level is .15 or above.
DWI third and fourth offense are felony charges. These charges carry very lengthy prison sentence ranges. DWI third offense carries 1-5 years in prison while DWI fourth offense carries a penalty of 10-30 years in prison.
So, DWI can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the number of prior convictions for DWI. The predicate convictions can be from out-of-state. The prosecutor must prove the existence of the predicate.
For more information regarding DWI laws in Louisiana, call Carl Barkemeyer, DWI lawyer in Baton Rouge at (225) 964-6720.