Louisiana DWI Laws: Penalties by Offense
Driving while intoxicated (or a DWI) isn’t particularly tolerated in Louisiana.
Fatalities due to alcohol intoxication in the Pelican State are the fourth highest in the United States, with the penalties suitably designed to combat the issue.
These penalties steadily increase, depending on whether it’s your first, second, third or fourth offense.
If you’re currently worried about the consequences of a DWI in Louisiana, then keep on reading. We’ve got a list of penalties based on Louisiana DWI laws for you to understand.
A DWI First Offense
A Louisiana DWI first offense is a misdemeanor, with smaller penalties at this stage, although the consequences are still severe.
Depending on the severity, you can receive a jail sentence of up to six months or a financial penalty of between $300 and $100. Under state law, a Louisiana DWI first offense may also result in a 365-day suspension of your driving license, where you may be eligible for a restricted license for the duration of the suspension.
It’s also possible you may need to attend courses to improve your driving or combat potential alcohol abuse.
You can understand the Louisiana criminal court process better with our explanatory guide here.
A DWI Second Offense
A DWI second offense, much like the first, is a misdemeanor and has similarly applicable financial penalties and potential jail sentences of up to six months, with at least 48 hours in jail required.
You may receive a suspended driving license for two years, or four if your blood alcohol content limit (BAC) is higher than 0.2%. You will need to attend further courses for driving improvement, alcohol abuse, and victim awareness.
You may be unable to drive for at least 45 days, after which time a restricted license may become available. You may have to drive with an ignition interlock system that will only allow you to drive if you haven’t been drinking alcohol.
A DWI Third Offense
If you’re charged with a third DWI offense in Louisiana, the law considers it to be serious enough to class them as a felony, with increased penalties to match.
You may receive a financial penalty of $2000, with a jail sentence of between 1 and 5 years, with one-year minimum (meaning you will have to serve a year of your sentence). You may also serve 30 days community service, and the court may seize your vehicle.
You may also have to attend a four-week minimum substance abuse program.
It’s possible to become eligible for a restricted license at a later date, should you demonstrate good behavior.
Fourth And Further DWI Offenses
A fourth and all further DWI offenses result in the same penalties, with a financial penalty of $5000, a minimum ten-year jail sentence up to a maximum possible sentence of thirty years.
You must serve at least two years of that sentence, with an additional home incarceration period of one year. The court may seize and sell your vehicle, you may serve 40 days of community service, and you may attend further substance abuse programs of six weeks and up to 12 months.
You may also suffer further child engagement penalties if a child becomes hurt in such an incident.
Understand the Impact of Louisiana DWI Laws
The best advice we can give is to do everything you can to avoid driving while intoxicated. If you do drink before driving, the blood alcohol content limit is 0.08% for 21-year olds and above and 0.02% for under 21s.
Don’t drive if you think you’re already above this limit. But if it’s too late, you should look to hire the services of an attorney who understands Louisiana DWI laws.
If you’re based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and you’re looking for such an attorney, look no further. Get in touch and see if Baton Rouge DWI lawyer, Carl Barkemeyer, is able to help.