I Just Got A DWI. Now What?
The State of Louisiana takes driving while intoxicated offenses very seriously, including mandatory jail time for first offenders (which is often served by performing many community service hours if a positive trajectory from the incident is observed) and hefty fines and penalties. A driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge is given to a motorist with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater, regardless of whether or not driving ability was impaired at the time of the arrest.
DWI Penalties in Louisiana
- Administrative driver’s license suspension of ninety (90) days
- Reinstatement of driver’s license following a first offense DWI contingent upon use of interlock ignition device as well as substance abuse assessment and education.
- Mandatory minimum period of incarceration of two (2) days, with a maximum of six (6) months, along with the potential to defer this sentence to a community service program.
- Fines for first-offense DWI convictions are between $300 and $1,000 in Louisiana, though you must also pay court costs, additional fees, and surcharges incurred during the terms of the sentence.
- Convictions of a first-offense DWI in Louisiana remain on criminal record for a period of ten (10) years and will influence future DWI arrests for this duration.
But It Could Be Worse
A driving while intoxicated (DWI) offense where the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is .15% or worse, over .20%, carries much more severe penalties where imposed jail time may not be avoided and penalties increased greatly. Penalties also become more severe if the driver is underage, has a commercial license, or has a minor in the vehicle.
Excluding the use of alcohol or narcotics, even driver impairment such as sleepiness or exhaustion can levy a charge of driving while intoxicated. If you are driving in the state of Louisiana, you’ve already legally given consent to submit to a breath or blood chemical test for determining your blood alcohol content. If you refuse this chemical test, you will still be booked into the city jail and have your driver’s license suspended regardless of the future result of any DWI charges.
Whether you can afford to pay the fines for a DUI or driving under the influence charge, you’ll also have to endure incarceration and the suspension of your license, which will affect transportation and income. Based on the case-specific nature of your arrest, there may be opportunities present to reduce the charges to lesser criminal or non-criminal convictions as a plea agreement. Consult with an experienced Shreveport criminal defense attorney to find out if your case is eligible for a plea agreement to reduce your sentencing penalties or even the possibility to win your case outright and avoid the distress that commonly befalls a DWI conviction.