When hearing the phrase driving under the influence (DUI), most people immediately assume the driver was drinking and driving. However, DUI laws also apply to drivers who are under the influence of drugs. Given the harsh penalties that follow conviction, it’s essential to have a reputable drug defense attorney on your side when you’re arrested for drugged driving in Louisiana.
What Is the Standard for Driving Under the Influence?
If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08% or higher (or higher than .02% if you’re under 21) in Louisiana, you can be arrested for a DUI. Unlike a DUI for alcohol, there are no set standards for individuals driving with drugs in their system. If they pull you over, police officers will likely conduct a field sobriety test or take you to the station for a blood or urine test. You are considered to be “under the influence” any time you do not have normal use of your physical and mental faculties behind the wheel.
Implied Consent to Chemical Testing
Any person, regardless of age, who operates a vehicle on public roads in Louisiana gives implied consent to a chemical test or tests of their blood, breath, or urine if they are stopped under suspicion of DUI. In criminal cases involving a DUI, prosecutors can use the test as evidence in court against you. But, your attorney may be able to challenge the test’s results in court.
Criminal Penalties for Driving While Intoxicated
A DUI or driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge can either be a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances surrounding your case. Outlined below are the penalties you may face if convicted.
- A first offense is classified as a misdemeanor and carries a fine between $300 to $1,000, jail time between 10 days and six months, or 32 hours of community service. A judge may also revoke your license for 90 days or require you to complete a substance abuse program.
- Second offenses are also classified as misdemeanors, but the penalties increase. You could face a fine between $750 to $1,000, jail time between 30 days and six months, or 240 hours of community service. Judges may also take away driving privileges for one year.
- A third offense is a felony and carries a $2,000 fine, jail time between one and five years, or driver’s license suspension for two years. A judge may also order the seizure and sale of your vehicle or require you to complete a substance abuse class.
- Fourth offenses and up are classified as felonies as well, but carry the harshest penalties. A judge could impose a $5,000 fine, sentence you to jail between 10 and 30 years, or require psychological testing. Similar to a third offense, the judge may order the seizure and sale of your vehicle or suspend your license for two years.
There are also mandatory minimum sentencing requirements if a child 12 years of age or younger was a passenger when you were arrested. Those penalties are:
- First offense: 10 days in jail
- Second offense: 30 days in jail
- Third offense: One year in jail
- Fourth offense and up: 10 years in jail
In addition to the mandatory sentencing requirements, a judge has the discretion to impose any additional penalties for the offense.
Obtain Representation for Drug Offense Charges in Louisiana
If you’re facing drugged driving charges in Louisiana, it’s crucial to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who will be on your side and advocate on your behalf. With more than 25 years of experience, Attorney Eric Johnson of the John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm knows how to craft an effective defense.
Eric Johnson is respected throughout Louisiana and is known for providing solid representation that wins cases. He has a successful track record of helping clients who face misdemeanor and felony charges.
Call (318) 377-1555 or complete an online contact form to schedule your free consultation.