[caption id="attachment_6563" align="alignright" width="500"] If you have been drinking, don't get behind the wheel. Instead, take an Uber, Lyft or taxi.[/caption] The consequences for being charged with a DWI in Louisiana can have an impact on your life for years to come. In the immediate, you will need to deal with the threat of jail time and fines. Long-term, a DWI can affect your driving record and criminal record, impacting your ability to get a job, and many more aspects of life. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, though. If you have been charged with a DWI, there are steps you can take to mitigate the damage to your life and reputation. Hiring an experienced DWI defense lawyer is one of the most important, proactive steps you can take early on to get your life back on track. Read on to learn more about the impact a DWI will have on your life.
A DWI Can Cost You a Lot of Money, and Even Result in Jail Time
A DWI in Louisiana is an enhanceable offense, meaning the penalties increase for multiple offenses. First time DWIs carry a standard penalty of a $300 - $1000 fine and 10 – 180 days in jail. For first offense DWIs in Louisiana jailtime is not a mandatory sentence. Instead, many undergo a process known as diversion. This allows them to avoid jailtime in lieu of community service and participation in various programs and/or classes, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. First and second DWI offenses may also require the installation of an interlock or breathalyzer device on your vehicle. Second offenses carry an increased penalty of $750 - $1000 and a 48-hour mandatory jail sentence. Community service requirements and mandatory program attendance is also increased. First and second DWI offenses are misdemeanor offenses. Third, fourth, and above are felony offenses, and carry much more severe penalties such as mandatory jailtime with no opportunity for parole or probation.
How a DWI Will Impact Your Driving Record and Criminal Record
Besides the immediate effects, a Louisiana DWI will also have a long-term impact on you. A DWI in Louisiana stays on your driving record for ten years. It will likely result in an increase in your car insurance rates over that period. Additionally, getting charged with a DWI may result in a suspension of your driver’s license. For more info on suspended licenses, click here. A DWI is a criminal offense and will stay on your criminal record unless you have it expunged. The expungement process is the only way to clear your criminal record in Louisiana. Though it is not a complete clearance, it seals the record from public access. Expungements can be complex, timely and somewhat expensive. If you have been charged with a crime in Louisiana and want to clear your record, Bloom Legal can help.
Don’t Let a DWI Throw Your Life Off Track
At Bloom Legal, we understand that everyone makes mistakes. We don’t think those mistakes should define us. If you have been pulled over for drunk driving in Louisiana, and are facing a DWI charge, call our DWI lawyers today for a free consultation. We will walk you through your options and work to devise a strategy best suited for you and your future.