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Criminal Defense » DWI and DUI in Louisiana DWI and DUI Penalties in Louisiana

For persons facing charges of DWI or DUI in Louisiana, the following bullets highlight the potential consequences associated with these charges, including:


First Offense DWI or DUI Conviction in Louisiana

  • Incarceration
    • Minimum of 10 days to a maximum of 6 months
      • The sentence may be reduced to 2 days if the offender is placed on probation and participates in a court-approved substance abuse program and a driver improvement program
      • The sentence may be entirely suspended if the offender performs 4 8-hour days of community service, half of which consists of litter abatement and also participates in a court-approved substance abuse program and a driver improvement program
      • If the offender had a blood alcohol concentration of .15 percent or more, there is a mandatory 2 day sentence
  • Driver’s license suspension:
    • If the driver submitted to a chemical test:
      • 90 days, without eligibility for a hardship license for the first 30 days
      • 180 days if under age 21
      • 2 years if the blood alcohol content is above .20 percent
    • If the driver refused to submit to a chemical test:
      • 1 year 
    • A restricted license may be granted in many situations if the driver agrees to the installation of a functioning ignition interlock device approved by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections for the period of suspension. There is no eligibility for a hardship license if a fatality occurred or a person sustained serious bodily injury as a result of the accident and the driver's intoxication is found to be a contributing factor to the fatality or injury.
  • Fines:
    • $300-$1,000 if under .20 percent blood alcohol concentration (not including court costs and other associated legal fees)
    • $750-$1,000 if .20 percent or greater blood alcohol concentration (not including court costs and other associated legal fees)

Second Offense DWI or DUI Conviction in Louisiana

  • Incarceration
    • Minimum of 30 days to a maximum of 6 months
      • Mandatory 2 day minimum sentence
      • The sentence may be reduced to 15 days if the offender is placed on probation and participates in a court-approved substance abuse program and a driver improvement program
      • The sentence may be reduced to 2 days if the offender performs 30 8-hour days of community service, half of which consists of litter abatement and also participates in a court-approved substance abuse program and a driver improvement program
      • If the offender had a blood alcohol concentration of .15 percent or more, there is a mandatory 4 day sentence
  • Driver’s license suspension:
    • If the driver submitted to a chemical test:
      • 1 year, without eligibility for a hardship license
      • 180 days if under age 21
      • 4 years if the blood alcohol content is above .20 percent; mandatory 3 years of ignition interlock device installation
    • If the driver refused to submit to a chemical test:
      • 1 year if this is the first refusal 
      • 2 years if this is the second refusal within 5 years of the first
    • A restricted license may be granted in many situations if the driver agrees to the installation of a functioning ignition interlock device approved by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections for the period of suspension. There is no eligibility for a hardship license if a fatality occurred or a person sustained serious bodily injury as a result of the accident and the driver's intoxication is found to be a contributing factor to the fatality or injury.
  • Fines:
    • $750-$1,000 if under .20 percent blood alcohol concentration (not including court costs and other associated legal fees)
    • $1,000 if .20 percent or greater blood alcohol concentration (not including court costs and other associated legal fees)
    • 6 months mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, must remain installed and operating during the entire period of the suspended sentence.

Second Offense DWI or DUI Conviction in Louisiana - Enhanced

  • If the first offense was the crime of vehicular homicide or first degree vehicular negligent injuring:
    • Incarceration
      • Minimum of 1 year to a maximum of 5 years, with or without hard labor
        • Mandatory 6 month minimum sentence
    • Driver’s license suspension:
      • If the driver submitted to a chemical test:
        • 1 year, without eligibility for a hardship license
        • 180 days if under age 21
        • 4 years if the blood alcohol content is above .20 percent; mandatory 3 years of ignition interlock device installation
      • If the driver refused to submit to a chemical test:
        • 1 year if this is the first refusal 
        • 2 years if this is the second refusal within 5 years of the first
      • A restricted license may be granted in many situations if the driver agrees to the installation of a functioning ignition interlock device approved by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections for the period of suspension. There is no eligibility for a hardship license if a fatality occurred or a person sustained serious bodily injury as a result of the accident and the driver's intoxication is found to be a contributing factor to the fatality or injury.
    • Fines:
      • $2000 (not including court costs and other associated legal fees)
      • 6 months mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, must remain installed and operating during the entire period of the suspended sentence.

Third Offense DWI or DUI Conviction in Louisiana

  • Incarceration
    • Minimum of 1 year to a maximum of 5 years, with or without hard labor
    • Mandatory minimum of 1 year without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of the sentence. 
    • The court may suspend any additional portion of the sentence beyond the 1 year minumum if the offender is placed on probation for the same amount of time and participates in 30 8-hour days of community service. The offender must also:
      • Undergo an immediate evaluation to determine the nature and extent of the offender's substance abuse disorder and to participate in a treatment program, including inpatient treatment for a period of not less than 4 weeks followed by outpatient treatment not to exceed 12 months; or, participate in substance abuse treatment in an alcohol and drug abuse program provided by an approved provider. 
      • Serve 6 months up to the remainder of the sentence in home incarceration, which requires:
        • Electronic monitoring, curfew restrictions, and home visitation by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections for the first 6 months
        • Obtain employment and participate in a court appointed driver improvement program. 
  • Driver’s license suspension:
    • If the driver submitted to a chemical test:
      • 1 year, without eligibility for a hardship license
      • 180 days if under age 21
      • 4 years if the blood alcohol content is above .20 percent; mandatory 3 years of ignition interlock device installation
    • If the driver refused to submit to a chemical test:
      • 1 year if this is the first refusal 
      • 2 years if this is the second or subsequent refusal within 5 years of the first
    • A restricted license may be granted in many situations if the driver agrees to the installation of a functioning ignition interlock device approved by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections for the period of suspension. There is no eligibility for a hardship license if a fatality occurred or a person sustained serious bodily injury as a result of the accident and the driver's intoxication is found to be a contributing factor to the fatality or injury.
  • Fines:
    • $2,000 (not including court costs and other associated legal fees)
    • The court may order that the vehicle being driven by the offender at the time of the offense be seized, impounded and sold at auction to pay court costs, towing and storage fees and then the remainder to be paid to the arresting agency, the district attorney and an organization that studies ways to reduce drunk driving and insurance rates. 
    • Ignition interlock device must be installed until substance abuse treatment and home incarceration is completed.

Fourth Offense DWI or DUI Conviction in Louisiana

  • Incarceration
    • Minimum of 10 years to a maximum of 30 years, with or without hard labor
    • Mandatory minimum of 2 years without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of the sentence. 
    • The court may suspend any additional portion of the sentence beyond the 2 year minumum if the offender is placed on probation for the same amount of time, not more than 5 years, and participates in 40 8-hour days of community service. The offender must also:
      • Undergo an evaluation to determine the nature and extend of the offender's substance abuse disorder and to participate in any treatment plan recommended by the evaluation, including inpatient treatment for a period of not less than 4 weeks followed by outpatient treatment not to exceed 12 months or participate in a substance abuse treatment program
      • Serve 1 year to the remainder of the sentence in home incarceration, which requires:
        • Electronic monitoring, curfew restrictions, and home visitation by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections for the first 6 months
        • Obtain employment and participate in a court appointed driver improvement program. 
  • Driver’s license suspension:
    • If the driver submitted to a chemical test:
      • 1 year, without eligibility for a hardship license
      • 180 days if under age 21
      • 4 years if the blood alcohol content is above .20 percent; mandatory 3 years of ignition interlock device installation
    • If the driver refused to submit to a chemical test:
      • 1 year if this is the first refusal 
      • 2 years if this is the second or subsequent refusal within 5 years of the first
    • A restricted license may be granted in many situations if the driver agrees to the installation of a functioning ignition interlock device approved by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections for the period of suspension. There is no eligibility for a hardship license if a fatality occurred or a person sustained serious bodily injury as a result of the accident and the driver's intoxication is found to be a contributing factor to the fatality or injury.
  • Fines:
    • $5,000 (not including court costs and other associated legal fees)
    • The court may order that the vehicle being driven by the offender at the time of the offense be seized, impounded and sold at auction to pay court costs, towing and storage fees and then the remainder to be paid to the arresting agency, the district attorney and an organization that studies ways to reduce drunk driving and insurance rates. 
    • Ignition interlock device must be installed until substance abuse treatment and home incarceration is completed.

DUI Louisiana Cleansing Period

In the state of Louisiana, there is a ten year period before prior DUI arrests will not affect the sentencing of a current DUI conviction.  In other words, if your second DUI arrest is more than ten years following your first, you will be charged according to the sentencing guidelines for first offense DUI charges in the state of Louisiana.  However, if any portion of these ten years were spent incarcerated, this time does not count towards the ten year cleansing period. 

Underage DWI and DUI in Louisiana - Penalties

The aforementioned judicial punishments for violations of DWI and DUI Louisiana laws only account for adults operating vehicles in a relatively safe manner that do not result in injury.  For minors, any person under the age of 21 who operates a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration above .02% will be subject to a different scale of punishment as provided by Louisiana law. 

  • First Conviction:
    • Fine: $100-$250
    • Must participate in a court-approved substance abuse and driver improvement program
  • Second and Subsequent Convictions:
    • Fine: $150-$500
    • Imprisonment: 10 days to 3 months 
    • Suspension of the sentence is allowed if: 
      • 2 days of jail is served and the offender participates in a court-approved substance abuse and driver improvement program; or,
      • Complete suspension is allowed if the offender participates in 10 8-hour days of community service, half of which include litter abatement and participates in a court-approved substance abuse and driver improvement program

Child Endangerment Law - Penalties

Additionally, the state of Louisiana seeks to protect the rights of children from inebriated parents that choose to get behind the wheel.  If a child, 12 years old or younger, is present in vehicle during a DWI or DUI offense in the state of Louisiana, Child Endangerment Laws provide that suspension of a sentence is not allowed and the minimum must be served. 

Thus, the mandatory minimums are:

  • First DWI or DUI Offense: 10 days of incarceration
  • Second DWI or DUI Offense: 30 days of incarceration
  • Third DWI or DUI: 1 year of incarceration
  • Fourth DWI or DUI: 10 years of incarceration

Unlawful Refusal To Submit to Chemical Tests - Penalties

Refusal to submit to a chemical test when you have refused on two previous and separate occasions results in the following penalties:

  • Fine: $300-$1000
  • Incarceration: 10 days to 6 months
  • Suspension of the sentence is allowed if: 
    • 2 days of jail is served and the offender participates in a court-approved substance abuse and driver improvement program; or,
    • Complete suspension is allowed if the offender participates in 4 8-hour days of community service, half of which include litter abatement and participates in a court-approved substance abuse and driver improvement program

Refusal to Submit to Chemical Tests

More information about chemical tests:

Though objective standards for ascertaining drivers who are under the influence of alcohol prevail across the country and the state of Louisiana, the influence of other factors and substances are much more subjective, which is beneficial to individuals facing these charges.  DWI and DUI laws in Louisiana, according to R.S.14:98, note that any driver over the age of 21 is intoxicated when possessing a blood alcohol content of or over .08%, and for drivers under the age of 21, illegal levels of intoxication occur with a blood alcohol content of .02% of higher, according to DWI and DUI laws in Louisiana.  With regards to DWI charges, however, under the influence can be the result of any number of very subjective conditions and actions, which can include:

  • Prescription medications, whether taken illicitly or legally
  • Over the counter medications
  • Sleep deprivation or driver fatigue
  • The gamut of illegal drugs and substances

For drivers and arresting officers, there are typically no standard methods of objectively ascertaining whether or not a driver is “intoxicated” due to the aforementioned substances and conditions.  Additionally, the presence of items, such as medications and sleep fatigue, is virtually untraceable or admissible in the court of law if taken legally.  Though officers will attempt to coerce information from drivers suspected of Louisiana DUI or DWI at the scene of a traffic stop, no information should be provided verbally.  In most cases of DWI or DUI, the only evidence presentable at a trial is the testimony of officers at the scene, which can be minimized in direct correlation to the amount of information arrested drivers provide.

Aside from testimony, whether from officers, dashboard cameras, or statements made by drivers under suspicion of DWI Louisiana, individuals may be asked to provide a urine or blood sample to ascertain the presence of illicit or legal substances in their system, and the concentration levels of these substances.    

Penalties for refusal to submit to breath, urine, or blood sample requests:

  • First refusal: Driving privileges suspended for 1 year from the date of suspension, not eligible for hardship license if a fatality or serious bodily injury resulted from the accident and the driver's intoxication was found to be a contributing factor to the fatality or injury
  • Second and subsequent refusals: Driving privileges suspended for 2 years from the date of suspension, not eligible for hardship license if a fatality or serious bodily injury resulted from the accident and the driver's intoxication was found to be a contributing factor to the fatality or injury

Bloom Legal, in New Orleans, has experience counseling clients from the start to the finish of any DWI or DUI accusation in the State of Louisiana.  Individuals seeking counsel from Bloom Legal will be informed of their legal rights, as well as the best legal strategies for retaining their driver’s license, reducing probationary periods, eliminating incarceration, and preventing burdensome fines and other court mandates throughout the greater New Orleans area.

The metropolitan area of the city of New Orleans, including the areas New Orleans, Metairie, Kenner and the West Bank, covers seven parishes of the state of Louisiana including Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, St. Charles, and St. John the Baptist parishes.  Bloom Legal serves residents and tourists arrested for DWI or DUI in all of these locations as well as others throughout the state of Louisiana.  While the vast majority of the residents of the city of New Orleans live on the East Bank, a significant portion of Bloom Legal’s clientele is also derived from West Bank, Northshore, and River Parish residents as well.

Let us help you by contacting us today.  Give Bloom Legal a call at 504.599.9997 or fill out the form above.

-Bloom Legal LLC 700 Camp St New Orleans, La 70130-

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