Penalties Steep for Drinking and Driving
Police in New Orleans and throughout Louisiana are cracking down on intoxicated drivers. The penalties for having a few drinks before driving are steep. Whether you are cited for driving under the influence when driving through Louisiana or just visiting, it is important to contact a New Orleans DWI lawyer for legal assistance.
Bloom Legal has helped many clients respond proactively to drunk driving arrests in order to avoid conviction, maintain a clean record and avoid the loss of a driver’s license.
Attorney Seth Bloom, founder of Bloom Legal, is a member of the DUI National Defense College. He has taken continuing education courses on drunk driving, and has extensive knowledge of blood alcohol content (BAC) monitoring issues. Let us put our legal knowledge about these high-stakes cases to work to help you resolve your drunk driving arrest or citation.
New Orleans DUI Defenses
After a drunk driving arrest, you can plead guilty in exchange for lesser penalties or try to defend yourself against the charges. In some cases, a New Orleans criminal defense lawyer can help get the charges against you dropped, while in other situations, your case will go to court where a prosecutor has the burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Six common DUI defenses under Louisiana law are:
- Insufficient evidence: If the prosecutor cannot prove your case beyond a reasonable doubt, you cannot be found guilty of the crime of drunk driving.
- You were not driving: Operating the vehicle is an essential element of a drunk driving conviction. For example, if you had the keys in the ignition, but were napping in the parking lot, the prosecutor may be unable to prove you were operating a vehicle.
- A violation of your constitutional rights: If you were pulled over without reasonable cause or asked to submit to a sobriety test without a warrant or justification, any evidence collected against you in the illegal search cannot be used against you in court.
- A rising BAC defense: Your blood alcohol content (BAC) will continue to rise even after you have stopped drinking. If there was a delay in when your BAC was tested and you were at or near the legal limit, it is possible to argue that you were not legally intoxicated while driving.
- Breathalyzer problems: Breath tests are not always accurate and many things can impact a breathalyzer test including medical conditions, such as antacid, or the use of certain types of medications or mouth wash. You can question breathalyzer evidence with the help of experts who cast doubt on the BAC test results.
- Inadequate officer training: If police were not properly trained in field sobriety tests or the use of a breath test, then you can argue the evidence they collected is not strong enough to prove your guilt.
A New Orleans DWI lawyer can explain all of your options for DUI defenses and assist you in making the strongest possible case to clear your good name. At Bloom Legal, we work not just to help you avoid a conviction, but to take the stress out of a DWI or DUI arrest, whether you live locally or out of state.
We can schedule consultations by phone and minimize the number of times you are required to appear in court. Our job is to take the burden of your DUI defense off your shoulders.
Top Mistakes of Law Enforcement Officers
Some of the top mistakes law enforcement officers make include:
- Stopping a suspected drunk driver based on an anonymous tip – If someone files a complaint or an accusation, police cannot act unless the accuser provides his or her name.
- Pulling a driver over without just cause – If you are not breaking the law or doing something improper, police cannot force you to stop your car and pull over. In court, pulling you over without just cause can be considered a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights.
- An excessive detainment period – Police officers are not allowed to hold you for any longer than is reasonably necessary to determine if you have violated the law. You cannot be held without limit.
- Asking for a breath or blood test without justification – Unless police have a valid reason to suspect that you are impaired by alcohol or drugs, they cannot ask you to submit to sobriety tests. If they require you to submit to sobriety tests without justification, they have violated your Fourth Amendment rights.
- Failure to follow manufacturer instructions and police department policy – If an officer makes an error or does not follow protocol of the sobriety test, the accuracy of the test may be called into question. In such a case, it is possible that the evidence will be kept out of court entirely.
These are just some of the errors that law enforcement officers can make. If law enforcement officers violate your rights in any way, the evidence they collect can be “suppressed.” This means your New Orleans criminal defense lawyer would ask the court to rule that the evidence cannot be used against you.
Without adequate evidence, prosecutors cannot prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The charges may be dropped before your case gets to court or a jury may find that you are not guilty. To avoid conviction, the prosecutor must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Remember, you do not have to prove you are innocent.
Bloom Legal has extensive experience investigating and identifying law enforcement errors and helping clients avoid conviction. Call or contact our criminal defense law firm today to speak with a member of our legal team and learn how we can help with your case.
Four Common Mistakes Made After a DUI Arrest
Being arrested for drunk driving is a frightening experience that sets in motion a chain of events that can include an administrative suspension of your driver’s license and a criminal trial. Unfortunately, the solution to your pending charges is not always obvious, but understanding the legal options available to you can help you and your lawyer determine how to best handle the situation.
It is important to consult a New Orleans DWI lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest. An experienced lawyer at Bloom Legal will help you make smart choices regarding your pending criminal charges.
You should also be sure to avoid some of the common mistakes people make after a drunk driving arrest, as these errors could significantly impact the strength of your case.
Four of the biggest mistakes people make after a DUI arrest are:
- Ignoring the charges: If you live in a different state, you may think you can return home and avoid dealing with the criminal charges you received while travelling. Unfortunately, that is not how the criminal justice system works. If you ignore criminal charges, law enforcement will issue a warrant for your arrest. A driver’s license suspension in New Orleans will apply in your home state and anywhere else you drive. Criminal charges need your immediate attention. A New Orleans DWI lawyer at Bloom Legal can handle your case and help to minimize the number of times that you are required to return to Louisiana.
- Admitting guilt: You should not admit that you have done anything wrong, nor should you decide to plead guilty until you have spoken to an attorney. You may have options to defend yourself or get the charges dropped, depending on the circumstances of your arrest. Even if you do plead guilty, you should still talk to a New Orleans DWI lawyer Your attorney may be able to work out a deal with the prosecutor so that you face less severe penalties.
- Assuming a high BAC guarantees conviction: An illegal blood alcohol level determined by the results of a breath or blood test does not guarantee a conviction. Lab tests are not perfect and mistakes can be made. Furthermore, you can sometimes have evidence suppressed if police acted without reasonable cause. A New Orleans DWI lawyer will evaluate the circumstances of your case and advise you of the options available.
- Not calling a lawyer right away: The sooner you contact a New Orleans DWI lawyer, the sooner your lawyer can start working on helping you avoid a criminal conviction. Your attorney can review the circumstances of your case and devise the best legal strategy.
Contact Bloom Legal Today
A New Orleans DWI defense attorney at Bloom Legal is ready to help you immediately. We serve clients in the greater New Orleans area, including Jefferson Parish (Metairie and Gretna), St. Bernard Parish, St. Charles Parish, and St. Tammy Parish. Call today to speak with a member of our legal team and get a lawyer on your side. You can reach us by calling 1-504-599-9997.
Stay Safe During
Hear What Our Clients Have To Say
I contacted Bloom Legal out of the blue with a strange question for a fiction series I’m writing that takes place in New Orleans. Being from Maryland I was in the dark and needed assistance and they jumped at the chance to help me (they were the only law firm that responded to my e-mail). His team worked quickly and carefully to find the information I needed. Because of the help they provided it changed a large aspect of my novel and for that I am very grateful.
Posted by: Sarah Perrie