A DWI is a crime should be taken seriously not only because it has implications regarding your driver’s license and may cause suspension to privileges, but it also puts yourself and others at risk for injury...or death. Think next time before you decide to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 


Understanding DWI

DWI, or driving while intoxicated, is sometimes referred to as a DUI or OUI. This is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a fine up to $1,000.00. 


The Legal Limit

In Louisiana, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle, aircraft, or watercraft, while impaired. If an individual is operating a vehicle, their blood alcohol content (BAC) should be less than .08%. A person must also not drive while under the influence of any controlled substance.


First Offense: 10 days to 6 months in jail; $300 to $1,000 fine; Possible Ignition Interlock Device (IID) during probation.

Second Offense: 30 days to 6 months in jail; $750 to $1,000 fine; IID at least 6 months and during probation.

Third Offense: Considered a felony; 1 to 5 years in jail; $2,000 fine, IID during probation and treatment.


License Suspension

After conviction, an individual’s license will be suspended; however, one will be allowed to operate a vehicle while on probation if an ignition interlock device is placed in the vehicle. Other necessities may also be required by the DMV before an individual is able to drive.


Breathalyzer

If a police officer has reasonable belief an individual is operating a vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol, a breath test can be authorized. Yes, you can refuse a breath test; however, refusal of the breath test may lead to a more extensive driver’s license suspension. 


Underage DWI

If an individual under the age of 21 years old is operating a vehicle with a BAC of .02% to .08%, they are subject to Louisiana’s underage DWI penalties. 


Controlled Substance DWI

Driving while under the influence does not just pertain to alcohol, but also to controlled substances. Read more about Louisiana’s Laws and Penalties here: https://dui.drivinglaws.org/la.php


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In the event you are suspected of driving while under the influence, remember your Miranda Rights. You have the right to remain silent, and you will not be able to talk your way out of the arrest.


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Richard Brooks

Paralegal, Bush Law Firm