Louisiana DUIs and DWIs
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Drivers can incur severe DUI penalties in Louisiana due to the strict regulation of DUI laws by state law enforcement agencies. Per the drunk driving laws, adult motorists who operate their vehicles under the influence of intoxicants will be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI). If a DWI conviction is reported on your driver’s record, you may even be subjected to a jail sentence, in addition to steep fines and a license suspension. Note that separate penalties are issued by both the state Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Louisiana courts. Learn more about the penalties incurred by motorists who commit DUI offenses in Louisiana by reading the following sections.
Louisiana DUI Citations and Convictions
Motorists who fail to dismiss a DWI ticket in Louisiana will face several types of consequences. When subjected to an arrest for failing the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test, you will first be penalized with an administrative license suspension of 90 days. If your BAC level at the time of arrest was .20 percent, you will face a two-year suspension. Note that harsher administrative penalties are issued to repeat offenders. Furthermore, drivers who do not beat their DUI charges in court will be subjected to additional penalties, such as lengthy suspensions, steep fines and a misdemeanor or a felony offense added to their driving transcripts.
Note: Drivers who refuse to undergo the BAC test will have their credentials suspended for one year.
Louisiana DUI Violations and Penalties
If you violate drunk driving laws, the type and severity of the charges brought against you will typically depend on your age, BAC level and the number of other DUI offenses on your record. For example, motorists convicted of a DUI for driving with a BAC level of .20 or higher will face much longer driving license suspensions than drivers with a level of intoxication of .08 percent.
First DUI Offense
Initial DWI convictions in Louisiana result in jail sentences of up to six months, maximum fines of $1,000 and additional court costs. Motorists who commit a DUI offense in LA for the first time will be subjected to a one-year license suspension as well. If your BAC level was .20 at the moment of arrest, your credential will remain suspended for two consecutive years. Reinstating your license after getting a DUI for the first time will cost $100.
Second DUI Offense
Second DWI offenses in Louisiana may potentially lead to six-month jail sentences with a mandatory jail time of 48 hours. The maximum cost of DUI fines for second-time offenders is set at $1,000. Depending on your BAC level in such cases, you will either be penalized with a two-year or a four-year license suspension. Drivers reinstating their suspended license after a second DWI conviction will be required to pay a restoration fee of $200.
Third DUI Offense
The maximum penalties administered for third DUI convictions include jail sentences of up to five years with a mandatory jail stay of 30 days, fines of up to $2,000 and driving license suspensions of three years. Motorists who commit theses types of DUI offenses in LA will also have their vehicles seized and sold, and they will be required to complete a substance abuse treatment program.
Fourth DUI Offense
Drivers who commit a DUI violation in Louisiana for the fourth time will be subjected to maximum fines of $5,000 and jail sentences of 30 years with mandatory jail time of 30 days. You will also lose your license for three years and your vehicle will be sold by the authorities. Violating the state DWI laws for the fourth time will also result in mandatory participation in a treatment program and a home incarceration sentence of five years.
Louisiana DUI Attorneys
Drivers facing drunk driving charges in Louisiana can increase their chances of obtaining a favorable outcome regarding their case if they obtain the services of an experienced DWI lawyer. Even if you are unable to avoid a conviction, with the help of a DUI defense attorney, you can still reduce the potential fines and penalties. In addition to helping you avoid harsh consequences, a good lawyer can also file the necessary paperwork on your behalf and explain the exact laws that you have violated to you.
Note: To ensure you hire the best DUI lawyer in LA for your specific case, contact several candidates and conduct a thorough research of their credentials and past success rate.
Louisiana Open Container Laws
Impaired driving laws in Louisiana also prohibit drivers from consuming or carrying open alcoholic beverages in their vehicles. Therefore, you will be at risk of incurring DUI penalties regardless of whether or not you are consuming an alcoholic beverage. In order to avoid receiving an LA DWI ticket for violating the state open container laws, ensure you only transport unopened alcoholic beverages in your vehicle.
Reinstating a Suspended Drivers License in Louisiana
A driver’s license suspension is one of the many consequences that comes with being charged with a DUI. Therefore, prior to resuming your driving activities, you will be required to complete the credential restoration procedure with the Louisiana DPS. You can restore your driving privileges through a reinstatement office of the state DPS after meeting the following requirements:
- Complete the driver’s license suspension period.
- Install an ignition interlock device (if required).
- Obtain the necessary proof of vehicle liability insurance.
- Attend a DUI traffic school program (if required).
After paying the cost of DWI reinstatement and submitting the required documentation, the department will restore your driving privileges. Depending on the number of DUI violations on your record, the restoration fee will vary.
Louisiana Alcohol Awareness Classes
Drivers who commit DUI offenses in Louisiana may also be required to attend DUI classes in order to review the state laws and to improve their knowledge of the effect of intoxicants on safe driving. To learn whether or not you are required to attend a DUI course in the event that you commit a DUI violation in LA, contact a nearby DMV location or the court that is processing your case.
Louisiana SR-22 Insurance
Drivers who were convicted for violating Louisiana drunk driving laws will be required to file proof of corresponding DUI insurance when reinstating their driving licenses. As proof of auto insurance for DUI offenders, insurers issue the SR-22 form. This form proves that drivers have obtained the proper insurance after a DUI conviction was reported on their driving transcripts. Note that the SR-22 proof of insurance must be maintained for at least three years from the date of conviction.
Louisiana Laws That Pertain to DUI/DWI
The state brings DUI charges in Louisiana when a driver violates the impaired driving laws by operating a motor vehicle with an illegal amount of BAC in his or her system. Adult motorists, for example, are committing a violation if they drive with a BAC level of .08 percent or higher. On the other hand, you will be charged with an underage DUI in LA if you are younger than 21 years of age and you were apprehended for driving with a BAC level of .02 or greater. Since commercial motorists are required to abide by stricter laws, and they will be charged with a DUI even for operating a vehicle with a BAC level of .04, regardless of their age.
Hardship License in Louisiana
Motorists who have a suspended driver’s license in Louisiana may be eligible to apply for a hardship license, which will allow them to earn a livelihood or travel to and from essential destinations, such as medical institutions or school. Note that, to obtain a restricted license while completing a license suspension period, applicants will be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicles. If you are affected by a DWI conviction-related suspension, you can apply for a hardship credential through a local DMV office by completing the following steps:
- Fill out the corresponding application forms.
- Submit the SR-22 filing and the proof of installation of an ignition interlock device.
- Present the court order granting you permission to apply for a hardship license (if required).
- Pay the applicable fees.
Note: Only holders of non-commercial Class D or E credentials can apply for a hardship credential.