Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI) are serious charges in Louisiana and have serious consequences. There is some important information you need to know if you are stopped, arrested, and/or charged with a DWI:
- DWI, in short, is the operation of a vehicle when the operator is under the influence of alcohol (a BAC blow of .08 or more) or narcotics/drugs (YES, even your prescription medication) in some instances, a blood sample can be ordered and tested
- If you are a minor, then the BAC blow is .02 or more, but if you blow .08 or more, you can be charged with a regular DWI, which carries harsher penalties
- There are two components to a DWI charge – a criminal component and an administrative component.
- DWI first and second offense are misdemeanors, with penalties that could include up to 6 months in jail, a period of probation, having to perform community service, attendance at a MADD impact panel, participation in a driver improvement or alcohol awareness class, and participation in substance abuse treatment programs
- DWI third offense and greater are felonies with mandatory jail time. A DWI third offense carries a maximum sentence of incarceration of 5 years with a mandatory minimum period of incarceration of 1 year. A DWI fourth offense carries a maximum sentence of incarceration of 30 years with a mandatory minimum period of incarceration of 10 years, of which at least 2 must be served without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence. In either event, there could be a period of probation after the incarceration with the requirement of having to perform community service, attendance at a MADD impact panel, participation in a driver improvement or alcohol awareness class, and participation in substance abuse treatment programs
- If you are convicted of a DWI, your driving privileges could be suspended. You may be eligible for a hardship license and may be required to install an intoxilyzer (blow machine) in your vehicle.
- If you refuse the Breathalyzer test administered by the arresting officer, you could be subject to a one year suspension of your driving privileges. If you submit to the Breathalyzer test, depending on how high your BAC is and how frequently and previously this has happened, you could be subject to a suspension of your driving privileges for a period of 90 days up to 4 years
- Administratively, you have 15 days to file for a hearing to oppose the OMV's proposed suspension of your driving privileges. Failure to file for this hearing timely will cause the loss of this opportunity.
- A DWI conviction can have serious negative impacts on insurance premiums, driving records, employment opportunities, school enrollment as well as many other aspects of your life including a criminal record. You need a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney who is knowledgeable in dealing with DWI's, you need the attorneys at Richthofen & Associates, working for you immediately, protecting your rights, and defending you.