Every state has its own criminal laws that apply to illegal acts committed within its borders. One of the illegal actions for which states impose penalties is operating a motor vehicle while having a blood alcohol content that is over the legal limit. Although the federal government has established the baseline of a .08 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit that all states have adopted, there are significant differences among penalties and consequences for DUI defendants depending upon what state they live in. For drivers in Louisiana, the penalties are among the strictest in the United States. This means you will face more consequences if you are caught driving drunk in New Orleans or anywhere else in the state of Louisiana as you would if you did the exact same thing just across the state line. Because of the serious penalties you can face if you are found guilty, it is important to consult with a New Orleans DUI attorney to help you fight criminal charges.
Where Do DUI Convictions Lead to the Harshest Penalties?
Wallet Hub provides information on how strict the different states are when it comes to penalties for impaired driving. The state of Louisiana ranks as the 14th strictest state overall, and as the 13th strictest in terms of the criminal penalties that are imposed. Tougher states include Arizona, Alaska, Connecticut and West Virginia, among others. There are various reasons why Louisiana is considered to be such a strict state when it comes to penalties for a conviction for driving drunk. One big issue is that Louisiana imposes lengthier mandatory minimum jail sentences than most other states. In Louisiana, a first-time defendant convicted of drunk driving will spend two days in jail. In other states, like New Hampshire and Georgia, there is no mandatory minimum jail time for a first offense. Louisiana also has a very lengthy mandatory minimum sentence for a second-time DUI offender. A conviction for a repeat offense will lead to a minimum of 30 days in jail, compared with other states like Oregon with no mandatory minimum or like Oklahoma which imposes only a one-day minimum sentence. Not only does Louisiana impose harsh penalties for repeat offenders, but it also has a long loopback period in determining whether your prior offense counts against you. While Texas and many others states only count DUI convictions from the past 5 years, Louisiana looks back for a full 10 years when assessing whether you have a prior drunk driving conviction on your record. Louisiana also has a long administrative license suspension period. An administrative suspension goes into effect automatically if you are arrested for being over-the-limit or driving impaired -- even before you are actually convicted of any criminal act. In Louisiana, unless you take action to stop it from happening, you are going to have your driver’s license suspended for 45 days automatically if you are arrested for driving drunk. A DUI attorney in New Orleans can help you try to fight the administrative suspension and represent you in trial to try to avoid all of the other serious consequences of impaired driving. Call today to schedule a consultation with Bloom Legal and learn how we can help you when you are facing life-changing criminal penalties.