What is a DUI and a DWI in Louisiana?
In Louisiana, Driving Under Influence (DUI) and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) describe drunk driving. This traffic violation category falls under moving traffic violation, and violators may face arrest by the highway patrol department of the Louisiana State Police. Penalties for DUI or DWI can be mild or severe based on the level of blood alcohol concentration. Sanctions may include fines, license suspension, and jail time if found guilty in a traffic court. Getting a DUI or DWI conviction is a serious issue as it has a high chance of negatively impacting the offender’s life.
What is the Difference Between a DUI and a DWI in Louisiana
In the state of Louisiana, DUI and DWI are the same. The state also uses the term OWI (Operating under the influence). The punishment for such crimes is based on prior offenses within the past ten years. The Louisiana Laws Revised Statutes 14:98 addresses the penalty relating to driving under the influence of any substance.
What happens when you get a DUI for the First Time in Louisiana?
Following the DUI offense, a sobriety test is compulsory to assess blood alcohol concentration (BAC). There will be tests for drugs as well. BAC from 0.08% is liable for prosecution. A first DUI charge is considered a misdemeanor, and penalties may include community service, fines, license suspension, and possible probation. First-time offenders will likely face a maximum sentence of six months jail time and a $300 to $1000 fine. First-time DUI offense can also fall under felony charges if it involves death or a violation of child endangerment law.
How Likely is Jail Time After a First DUI in Louisiana?
It is very likely for the first time DUI offender to face jail time, and fines are also inevitable. The Louisiana traffic law stipulates that a first time DUI conviction is punishable by ten days to six months jail. Although, in some cases, parties may be placed on house arrest. According to the Louisiana Laws Revised Statutes 14:98, first time DUI offenders cannot be fined more than $1000 and less than $300. The court would subject all first-time violators to parole or probation unless the individual’s blood alcohol concentration was more than 0.15%. The offender may involve an attorney to increase the possibility of a reduced sentence.
What are the Typical Penalties for a DUI Conviction in Louisiana?
There are several penalties for those convicted of a DUI charge in Louisiana state. These include:
- First Offense DUI (Misdemeanor): $300 to $1000 fine and $750 to $1000 for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) higher than 0.20. Driver’s license suspension, community service, and possible jail time of a maximum of six months.
- Second Offense DUI (Misdemeanor): Fine payment between $750 to $1000. Driver’s license suspension, community service, mandatory 48 hours or 96 hours in prison based on BAC level, and installment of an ignition interlock device for half a year.
- Third Offense DUI (Felony): Attracts $2000 fine, one to five years jail time without probation for the first year, community service, the offender’s vehicle may be sold off by the prosecutor, and installment of an ignition interlock device on all vehicles handled by the offender.
- Fourth Offense DUI (Felony): $5000 fine, possible jail time for a minimum of ten years and a maximum of thirty years, community service, confiscation of the offender’s vehicle, and other additional punishments if child endangerment violations are included.
How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Louisiana?
A DUI stays on record for a minimum of ten years, and Louisiana does not permit DUI expunction. According to Louisiana State Legislature Art. 894, offenders can make a plea to suspend a DUI conviction on a driving record. However, the set aside will only be valid for two years or less, at the court’s discretion. Once the violator files a petition to set aside the DUI conviction, the clerk of court will notify the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, office of motor vehicles, and send a copy of the plea. The defendant will pay a sum of $50 to the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, office of motor vehicles, to retrieve the records. To qualify for the set-aside, the offender must have no pending criminal charges and must not have committed any crime within the slated sentence period. If the court grants the petition, the court will dismiss the DUI prosecution and treat the case as an acquittal.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.
Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
How do I Find DUI Checkpoints in Louisiana?
DUI checkpoints are legal in Louisiana. Most times, the sobriety checkpoints are set up on holidays such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, and others. The basis for these DUI checkpoints is because DUI related crimes spike around the public holidays. If suspected of DUI, the police officer may ask the individual to perform a series of tests such as walking straight, alphabet recital, or standing on one leg.
Which is Worse; a DUI or DWI?
In Louisiana, DUI and DWI are treated the same, and there is no difference. Hence none of the terms can be regarded as worse.
What is an Aggravated DWI in Louisiana?
Louisiana’s state gives lighter penalties on blood alcohol concentration less than 0.15%, but several factors are considered regarding aggravated DWI charges. These factors include blood alcohol concentration higher than 0.15%, a minor in the vehicle, and property damage resulting from drunk driving. Louisiana takes this type of offense seriously because it exposes vulnerable people to life-threatening risks. An aggravated DWI charge is also possible when the offender drives a vehicle with an expired driving license. The court imposes huge fines and revokes the offender’s license for two years. 32-hour compulsory community service is also involved.
What Happens When You Get a DWI in Louisiana?
Getting a DWI in Louisiana is the same as being charged with a DUI, and possible penalties are jail time, fines, community service, and license suspension. When a person is arrested for DUI, the first step is to decide if to employ an attorney or self-represent. Although, chances of winning a DUI case are higher with a lawyer. In the traffic court, the judge decides, based on evidence, that the defendant was intoxicated while operating the vehicle. The vehicle does not always have to be an automobile, and it can also be an aircraft or watercraft. In many cases, the court may dismiss DUI charges under the following criteria:
- Lack of Probable Cause: Suspicion is not enough, and the alleged offender must have failed a sobriety test before DWI booking.
- A Mistake by the Police Officer: No one is beyond mistakes, and as such, the police officer that made the booking could be guilty of making errors during the booking.
- Faulty Breathalyzer Test: This is another valid reason for the DWI charge contest. The alleged offender may have used a breathalyzer that was not appropriately calibrated or a malfunctioning breathalyzer. In rare cases, medications can even affect a breathalyzer result.
- Improper Field Sobriety Test Results: Dismissal of DWI charges is achievable over inaccurate field sobriety tests. Strong evidence of being drunk or a warrant is required before the officer can begin the test.
Suppose a person loses a DWI charge contest. In that case, the individual will face severe fines, an increase in insurance premiums, a driving ban, loss of driving license for an extended period, community service, and prison term.