Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated

This is a crime when the driver of any motor vehicle, aircraft, watercraft, vessel or other means of conveyance is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, the driver’s blood alcohol concentration is .08 percent or more, or the driver is under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance listed here.

Furthermore, it is a violation of the law to operate a vehicle while under the influence of a combination of alcohol and one or more drugs that are not controlled dangerous substances and which are legally obtainable with or without a prescription. However, it is an affirmative defense as to this variation if the label of the drug package did not contain a warning about combing the medication with alcohol.

Finally, it is a violation of the law to operate a vehicle under the influence of one or more drugs that are not controlled dangerous substances and that are legally available with or without a prescription. However, again it is an affirmative defense as to this variation if the operation did not knowingly consume quantities of the drug which substantially exceeded the dosage recommendation of a physician or the packaging.

A valid driver’s license is not an element of operating a vehicle while intoxicated – therefore, lacking a valid driver’s license is not a defense.

Additionally, as the statute includes the wording “or other means of conveyance” it may be possible to receive a DWI or DUI while operating a bicycle, scooter, moped or other transportation device.

Unlawful Refusal to Submit to Chemical

If you are under arrest for operating a vehicle while intoxicated or underage driving under the influence, you may not refuse to submit to a chemical test if you have refused to submit to chemical tests on two previous and separate occasions.

Additionally, one should keep in mind that by operating a motor vehicle on public highways in LA, an individual is deemed to have given consent to a chemical test of his blood, breath, urine or other bodily substances for the purpose of detecting the alcoholic content of his blood or the presence of a controlled dangerous substance or other drug if the person is under the suspicion of driving under the influence.

These are the possible consequences for refusing to take a chemical test on your first or second arrest:

  • Your driving privileges can be suspended for refusing to submit to a chemical test
  • Your driving privileges can be suspended if the chemical test shows a blood alcohol level above .08 for adults, and above .02 for minors
  • Your driving privileges can be suspended if the chemical test shows a positive reading for a controlled dangerous substance

DWI and DUI In New Orleans

Bloom Legal serves the greater New Orleans area for all DWI and DUI charges.  The areas outside of New Orleans, including the East Bank, West Bank, Northshore, and Riverside Parishes, produce a significant number of DUI arrests each year.  This is understandable given the citywide embracement of a constant party atmosphere that is unparalleled throughout the United States or abroad.  Many of these arrests are of individuals visiting the city for any number of the local festivals, parades, conventions, sporting events, and parties held on a regular basis, who have then gotten behind the wheel of a vehicle after having too much to drink.  Some of the more popular events will draw out more prevalent and invasive law enforcement efforts by local officials in order to curb out of control behavior, which may lead to some individual’s rights being violated in the process of a DWI or DUI arrest.

Bloom Legal regularly caters to tourists and other clients facing DWI and DUI arrests in New Orleans from one or more of the following events, including:

  • Mardi Gras, occurring in and around the Garden District all the way to the French Quarter and Bourbon Street. Fat Tuesday is March 8, 2011, February 21, 2012, February 12, 2013, March 4, 2014, and February 17, 2015.
  • New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, running at the Fair Grounds Race Course from April 29th until May 8th, 2011.
  • Southern Decadence, celebrated in and around the French Quarter in the week prior to Labor Day in September every year.
  • Voodoo Music Experience, which is a three-day, weekend long music festival featuring hundreds of mainstream and local artists on the last weekend before Halloween – October 29, 30 and 31, 2010.
  • French Quarter Festival, which celebrates the areas of Canal Street, Bourbon Street, Pauger Street, and St. Anne’s Street as a cultural center of New Orleans traditions and heritage – April 8-10, 2011.
  • Various Major Holiday Celebrations, including Halloween, New Year’s Eve and Day, Saint Patrick’s Day, Easter, Martin Luther King Day, July 4th and more.
  • Numerous Sporting Events, including the Sugar Bowl, the Bayou Classic, the New Orleans Hornets games, the New Orleans Saints games, the Zurich Classic, the New Orleans Zephyrs games at Zephyr Field in Metairie, and the 2013 Superbowl in New Orleans!
  • Harrah’s New Orleans, operating a constant party atmosphere of gaming, dining, and entertainment

In addition to these events, the Earnest N. Morial Convention Center is host to numerous conventions, events, balls, parties, and galas throughout the year, which may result in drivers leaving the venue with an illegal blood alcohol content, thus facing possible DWI or DUI arrest.  Even locals visiting the Downtown New Orleans areas and individuals in the suburb areas of Metairie and Gretna are not immune to DWI and DUI arrests, and Bloom Legal consistently has counseled clients from these areas in navigating their DWI or DUI charge and then expunging these charges and arrests from their record.

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 minimum 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 minimum 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.

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Working with Bloom Legal has been one of the best decisions that I have ever made. Seth and his team are professional, fast, and dedicated. Seth is a lot more than a lawyer; he is a fighter! Seth took on my case and treated me like a person instead of a client. He made a difficult situation very easy. I am very thankful for Seth and his team!



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  839 St. Charles Ave
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New Orleans, Louisiana
70130

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