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Louisiana DWI Penalties
Louisiana DWI Penalties and Charges
If you have been charged with a DWI, also called “driving while intoxicated,” you may not know what comes next. You may also have a few questions or feel overwhelmed about what has happened. What are the potential DWI penalties that come with a DWI charge? Are there any steps you can take to improve your outlook on these penalties? Would a lawyer be able to help?
If you have any of these questions, we at the John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm may be able to help. Our team, including the knowledgeable and talented attorney Eric G. Johnson, has extensive experience in criminal defense law, including cases involving DWI charges. If you need more information, please continue reading for our insights and suggestions for the best next steps.
What Are the Potential Penalties for a DWI in Louisiana?
If you have been charged with intoxicated driving, you may face certain DWI penalties if convicted. A DWI conviction may bring about several potential consequences. These may include, but are not limited to, the following:
If someone has never been charged with a DWI before, they may need to pay a fine of at least $300 once convicted. This number may increase if the individual is a repeat offender, reaching as high as $5,000.
Depending on the severity or number of DWI offenses committed, offenders will likely need to serve at least ten days of jail time upon conviction. However, certain repeat offenders may serve up to five years in jail. In some cases, individuals may be eligible for home incarceration. By the second offense, certain sentences become mandatory. Blood-alcohol levels (BAC) may also determine the length of jail time.
Probation time may also vary. Depending on the court and the number of offenses, this may last as little as six months. With four or more DWI offenses, probation may last up to five years.
If a driver is convicted of committing a DWI, they will likely need to serve at least 80 hours of community service. Repeat offenders may spend up to 320 hours.
If a driver is convicted of committing a DWI, the offender will likely need to participate in court-approved re-education programs. These include substance abuse and driver improvement classes.
Home incarceration may be required for repeat offenders. By the third offense of DWI, a driver may be required to spend at least six months in house incarceration. In some instances, offenders may need to wear tracking devices, follow curfew restrictions, and stay under electronic monitoring. These may come at the driver’s expense.
In certain cases, the court may also order drivers to use ignition interlock devices on their vehicles. Depending on the number of offenses and the BAC, individuals may be required to drive with an ignition interlock device for a minimum of six months. Certain individuals may need to keep the device on their vehicles for a minimum of 12 months.
Additional jail time may be required if a child was endangered due to the offense.
Some repeat offenders may also be subject to vehicle forfeiture. This means the prosecutor may seize the offending driver’s vehicle and sell it.
If you want to reduce the penalties you may face, or potentially eliminate them, we strongly recommend partnering with a qualified and experienced Louisiana criminal defense lawyer. A lawyer experienced in DWI cases will likely be able to reduce the consequences you face if you are convicted. If you are innocent, your lawyer may be the best able to convince the court to drop all charges against you.
What Steps Should You Take if You Are Charged With a DWI in Louisiana?
If you have been charged and face DWI penalties, there are a few steps we highly recommend following to significantly reduce potential charges and return to a sense of normalcy in your life as quickly as possible.
Avoid Discussing Your Case
We strongly recommend you avoid discussing your case with anyone, including close friends or family members. Discussing your case may result in your words being used against you, making it more difficult for your lawyer to argue a straightforward case in your favor.
We also suggest you stay off of and log out of social media. Any comments, photos, or text posts you put online may also be used against you, even if they don’t appear connected to your case. This may even be the case if you have privacy settings turned on.
Contact a Qualified Criminal Defense Lawyer
One of the essential steps to a favorable result is hiring a qualified criminal defense lawyer. Your lawyer may be able to assist you in several ways, including the following:
- Legal knowledge
- Defense formulation
- Strategizing the next best steps
- Reduce or eliminate penalties
- Drop charges
- Provide helpful information and resources
- Reduce stress
Please refrain from representing yourself during legal proceedings. Your lawyer is far more likely to win a favorable outcome than you are on your own.
Get Representation With John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm DWI Lawyers in Louisiana
If you’ve been charged with a DWI, our team at the John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm may be able to help. Our team members have practiced criminal defense law extensively. We have the knowledge, skills, and resources you may need to succeed in your case, and we are dedicated to supporting our clients through every step of the legal process.
If you think we would be a good fit for your legal representation and would like to discuss the details of your case, please do not hesitate to contact our dedicated and compassionate team. You can call us at (318) 377-1555 or complete our contact form at your earliest convenience. We are patiently waiting to hear from you and look forward to discussing your case.