Will I go to Jail For My First DWI in Louisiana?
There is a possibility that you could go to jail for your first DWI in Louisiana. Some people may think you won’t go to jail for a first-offense DWI simply because they did not. The determining factors if you will go to jail after a first DWI arrest are if you blew .15 BAC or above, the specific judge presiding over your case, and if there was an accident. Let’s explore these three factors in detail.
Blowing .15 or Above
The Louisiana state law provides that if a driver submits to the Intoxilyzer during a DWI arrest and blows .15 OR above, he or she must be sentenced to at least 48 hours in jail and it cannot be suspended. Many other lawyer websites online say that if you blow OVER .15 BAC, then the 2 days in jail is mandatory, but they are providing wrong information.
Just because you blew .15 or above, does not automatically mean you have to do two days in jail. That is simply what the law provides. Many of our clients blow at that level and some do not need to serve the 48 hours in jail. We attempt to negotiate with the prosecutor to have them agree to a reading of under .15 BAC. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes, the prosecutor may agree to it, but the judge still could implement the mandatory 48 hours in jail for DWI first offense.
That leads to the second important consideration to whether or not you will go to jail for your first DWI arrest…the judge. The criminal justice system is not like a machine that will give you the same result every time. The system has a lot of moving parts, including facts, laws, people, politics, etc. We have defended clients charged with DWI first offense in courts all over Louisiana from Ruston City Court down to Terrebonne District Court. We have seen it all. We have seen judges not even blink an eye with giving straight probation to clients that blew over .30 BAC and we have seen judges that order 30 days in jail for DWI first offense, no matter what. It really is hard to predict. Plus, judges come and go. You could end up having two different judges on your case if an election takes place during your case.
The other major determining factor if you will go to jail for your first DWI is if you were involved in an accident and if someone was injured. If there was an injury, you could get charged with vehicular negligent injuring. This is a misdemeanor offense punishable for up to six months in jail. However, if serious bodily injury occurs during the accident, the charge becomes a felony. Either way, if someone is injured, it is likely the judge will sentence you to jail time. If nobody was injured, the judge still may refuse to suspend all of the sentence and order jail time for your first DWI because he may feel like you could’ve hurt someone. This is where an experienced DWI lawyer, such as us, can try to explain your situation to the judge in a way that avoids jail time.
Penalties for First Time DWI Arrest In Louisiana
Besides the mandatory 48 hours in jail for blowing .15 BAC or above and any other reasons a judge may want to sentence you to jail time, there are other penalties you could be looking at if convicted for a first time DWI.
- Minimum of 10 days to 6 months in jail. However, all of this can be suspended if you complete 32 hours of community service, half of which must be litter detail. The judge can place you on probation for up to two years.
- Fine: $300 to $1,000 fine
- Substance abuse evaluation and perform any recommended treatment
- MADD Victim Impact Panel
- Defensive Driving Program
- Court Costs and other fines or fees as ordered by the judge.
- Driver’s License Suspension: The judge does not order this. Only the DMV can suspend your driver’s license. The suspension would be one year for a conviction for your first DWI. If you blew .20 or above, the suspension could be two years.
Hire An Experienced DWI Attorney Like Carl Barkemeyer
Carl Barkemeyer wrote this article, rather than a hired SEO person in India. He also wrote the published book DWI: Practical Information for the Accused and Attorneys in Louisiana which can be purchased on Amazon.
You can contact him today or schedule a consultation to discuss your case. Carl Barkemeyer, Criminal Defense Attorney has a very high success rate with criminal cases including first time DWI charges. You should now have a better understanding of your question – will I go to jail for a first time DWI in Louisiana.