Breaking Down the Basics of a DWI

man drinking and driving

It’s never a good thing to go behind the wheel when you’re inebriated, but the reality is that many try to get away with things down the road. The laws in Louisiana may not be as heavy on penalizing people who are driving under the influence, but keep in mind that getting caught will lead to convictions and a hefty dent in your pockets.

There are times when it might seem like a good idea to take the risk, but in reality, it’s never worth it. The cost of a DUI is quite steep, but the consequences for everyone’s safety are higher. But while most focus on the negative impact of a DUI, not a lot of locals understand the different repercussions of driving while intoxicated (DWI).

What is Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)?

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), or driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs, is a violation that is described as driving any vehicle while impaired to the slightest degree by alcohol, drugs (Schedule I, II, III, IV, or V of the Louisiana state statutes), or any other substance.

If a driver is convicted of DWI, they will be subject to a fine between $200 to $1,000 as well as jail time that ranges from 30 days to six months. The penalties for a DWI will increase if the driver has a BAC (blood alcohol content) level higher than .15 percent, is caught driving with a suspended license, or is a repeat offense.

The Different Legal Limit of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

As mentioned above, Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is the legal term used to describe a situation when someone drives while they’re impaired by alcohol or drugs. If a person is found to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over 0.08%, they’re considered to be driving while intoxicated.

The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration in Louisiana varies depending on the circumstances, but there are some important things to keep in mind:

  • If you’re driving a commercial vehicle, your BAC can be lower than 0.08% (currently the limit is 0.04% for commercial drivers);
  • If you’re driving a motor vehicle and you’re under 21 years of age, your BAC can be higher than 0.020%;
  • You’re considered to be driving under the influence if you’re found to have a BAC of over 0.080%.

What are the Different DWI Penalties in Louisiana?

The penalties for a DWI will be dependent on the circumstances surrounding the incident.

A First Offense

A first-time offender is considered someone who has never been arrested or convicted of a DWI before.

If a person has no prior arrests, they may be charged a fine between $300 to $1,000, but it could also be an alternative to performing 6-48 hours of community service or attending a driver improvement program.

Furthermore, the court may offer a probation period for up to one year that could be used to monitor the person’s behavior. If they’re not found to have violated any laws, charges can be dropped. But if they are, they may face fines, a license suspension, or lose their license altogether.

A Second Offense

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a criminal offense, and a second offense will be more serious.

In Louisiana, a second offense could be charged with a fine of $750 to $1,000, or the person could be imprisoned for up to six months. Also, the court may impose a year of probation where a person is subject to random drug and alcohol tests.

A Third Offense

A third offense is considered a felony, which means it’s a serious crime that could result in much more severe punishment. If someone is convicted of a third offense, they face $2,000 in fines, up to five years in prison, or both.

A Fourth Offense

If someone is convicted of a fourth offense, their sentence may be harsher than the third offense and could remain in prison for ten years.

Hire the best DUI attorney to handle your drunk driving charges in Shreveport, LA. Request a consultation today.

The Bottom Line: Facing DWI Charges and Moving Forward

It’s never a good idea to risk taking a night out on the town and driving a car. In addition to being a risk to yourself, you could be putting the rest of the public in danger as well. If you’re facing DWI charges, it’s in your best interest to seek the help of a qualified attorney who can help you understand your next steps.

Are you looking for the best DUI attorney in Shreveport? Our experts at the Law Office of Christopher M Stahl are fully committed to helping you get the best arrangements for your case for whatever reason—from traffic offenses, divorce cases, child custody, and more. Request a consultation with us today at 318-746-5610 and see how we can protect your rights.

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