DUI Attorney in Bossier City

Bossier City DUI Attorney

Are you looking for a DUI attorney in Bossier City?

We all make mistakes, and sometimes, our mistakes have more serious consequences than others. One of the most serious mistakes you can make in the state of Louisiana is getting a DUI.

But what exactly is a DUI? How much does a DUI attorney in Bossier City cost? Do you need an attorney? Will a DUI affect you for the rest of your life?

If you’ve been arrested for drunk driving in Bossier City, or if you’ve failed a breath test in Bossier City, your next steps may be confusing and unclear. Your first move should be finding the best DUI defense attorney in Bossier City, an attorney like Christopher Stahl. Mr. Stahl has handled a multitude of DWI and DUI cases, as well as other criminal defense cases, in Northwest Louisiana.

DUI attorney in bossier city

What is a DUI in Louisiana?

DWI stands for “Driving While Intoxicated”.

DUI stands for “driving under the influence”.

However, the terms are sometimes is interchangeable with DWI.

DUI and DWI all mean one thing when it comes to Louisiana state statutes: driving or operating any motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

You can get a DUI in Louisiana if you operate a vehicle, aircraft, or watercraft:

  • With a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08 or greater, or
  • While under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, legally obtainable drugs, or any combination thereof

Even if you refuse a sobriety test, an officer can arrest you for driving while intoxicated if they have a reasonable belief that you are intoxicated.

What Are Sobriety Tests?

Sobriety tests are tests that law enforcement can administer to drivers in Louisiana that they suspect of driving under the influence. They include anything from breath tests to more vague field sobriety tests.

In Louisiana, driving on Louisiana roads and highways means you have given implied consent to these sobriety tests.

But what does implied consent mean?

Well, here’s an example. You’re driving in Bossier City after a night out with friends. You’ve had a few drinks, and might be over the legal limit. A police officer pulls you over and tells you you were driving erratically. He asks you to take a breath test. Knowing your BAC might be too high, you decide to take your chances and refuse. Believe it or not, it is actually a crime to refuse a BAC test, thought it is rarely if ever charged.

Of course, you have the right to refuse; the officer cannot physically force you to take the test. However, like we mentioned earlier, the officer can still arrest you, because of that implied consent. By getting behind the wheel, you agree that in the event an officer pulls you over, you will take the test. When you refuse, the officer can arrest you, and you could lose your driving privileges in Louisiana.

The first and second time you refuse a breathalyzer test, your license can be suspended for up to 6 months, with no driving during the suspension. The third time you refuse a breathalyzer test, you may incur an additional 2 days in jail.

To make a long story short, if you are driving under the influence and an officer pulls you over, they are probably going to arrest you.

Field Sobriety Tests

In addition to breath tests, blood tests, and chemical screening, there are also field sobriety tests in Louisiana. These tests are often inaccurate. Officers will occasionally ask drivers to complete a field sobriety test if they believe the person is under the influence, but if they are unable to administer a breath test or if the driver has passed the breath test. There are three different field sobriety tests used in Louisiana:

  • The horizontal gaze nystagmus test, which tests your horizontal eye movement,
  • The walk and turn test, which tests your ability to walk a straight line,
  • The one leg stand test, which tests your balance.

There are many different conditions other than intoxication that may cause you to fail these tests. You can refuse these tests without any danger to your license; you have not given implied consent to field sobriety tests. If you fail a field sobriety test and Louisiana courts charge you with a DUI, contact a DUI attorney in Bossier City. Again, these tests are inaccurate, and a thorough and experienced attorney can fight them in court.

What Are the Penalties for a DUI in Bossier City?

The penalties for a DUI in Bossier City, or anywhere in Louisiana, depend entirely on how many DUIs there are on your record.

There are a variety of different penalties for a first offense DUI in Louisiana, and despite being less harsh than penalties for multiple offenses, they can still be onerous. This is why it’s important to find the best DUI attorney in Bossier City when you’re dealing with a DUI charge. The more convictions you have, the more your penalties will pile up.

First Offense

Your first DUI conviction in Louisiana could result in:

  • Jail time. You could spend up to six months in jail; however, it is much more likely that you will only spend a couple of days in jail, or spend a short period of time on probation.
  • Fines. You will have to pay all the associated court costs, and other fines could total between $300 and $1000.
  • DWI/DUI classes/Community Service. You may need to participate in up to 30 hours of alcohol and substance abuse classes, Driver Improvement Courses, and up to 32 hours of Community Service.

SR22 Insurance

SR22 insurance simply provides proof that a high-risk driver has the legal requirements to drive in Louisiana. It can increase your annual insurance premiums more than $1000. Because you may be required to obtain this expensive insurance after a first DUI offense, it is important to work with an experienced DUI attorney in Bossier City, in order to avoid the requirement in the first place.

What About Criminal Defense Attorney Fees?

For many possible defendants, this is their next question: how am I going to pay for a criminal defense attorney in Shreveport or Bossier City?

Shreveport and Bossier City criminal defense attorneys like Christopher Stahl charge fees in a variety of ways. They may charge by the hour, or by the case. Regardless of their method, attorneys will usually charge a retainer up front, before they begin work.

Second Offense

Louisiana considers a DUI a second offense if you are convicted of two DUIs within five years. The penalties for a second offense DUI are:
  • Jail time. There is a minimum sentence of 30 days and a maximum sentence of 6 months. At least 48 hours of the sentence shall be served without the benefit of probation or suspension of sentence absent certain conditions.
  • Fines. You could incur fines between $750 and $1000.
  • Community service. There is a 240 hour requirement for all second offenders.
  • 30 hours of DUI education classes.
  • Ignition interlock device
  • License suspension. Your license will be suspended for one year on a second offense. You may be eligible for a restricted license if your BAC was below .02%. When Louisiana reinstates your license, you may require an ignition interlock device and an SR22 insurance policy.

Third Offense

A DUI conviction is a third offense if you have two other DUI convictions within the last ten years. This is a felony offense, and thus, the penalties are severe.

Penalties for a third DUI offense include:

  • Jail time. The jail time for a third offense jumps to a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 5 years.
  • Fines. The fine for a third DWI or DUI conviction in Louisiana is $2000.
  • Ignition interlock device.
  • Vehicle seizure. Your vehicle may be seized and sold at auction for a third offense.
  • License revocation. Your driver’s license will be revoked for two years after a third DUI offense.

Due to this policy of escalating penalties, it is important to have the best DUI defense attorney in Bossier City when you are facing any DUI charge. While one charge may not seem serious, if they pile up, you could be dealing with severe consequences.

Why Do I Need a DWI or DUI Attorney in Bossier City?

We already talked about why it’s important to avoid even the first DUI charge, despite the penalties perhaps being less severe than successive DUI convictions. This is one reason why you need the best DUI defense attorney in Bossier City on your side.

But can you even fight a DUI charge, when police have breathalyzer or field sobriety test evidence?

It is entirely possible to fight a DWI or DUI charge in Louisiana, if you have the best DUI defense attorney in Bossier City.

The goal of a DWI or DUI defense attorney is to:

  • Successfully defend the DUI charge and obtain  a not guilty verdict
  • Minimize possible jail time
  • Minimize penalties other than jail time
  • Avoid their client having a DUI on their record

There are a variety of ways to argue against a DUI charge, and accomplish these four goals. Experienced attorneys like Christopher Stahl are experts in mapping out the best strategies for winning your case, and determining which method will work for you. Some of the more common strategies are:

  • You were not driving the car. If you were simply sitting in the car, even if your key was in the ignition, courts cannot charge you with a DUI. The car has to be moving, with you in the driver’s seat.
  • Lack of probable cause. The police officer who arrests you has to have probable cause to pull you over in the first place. If they did not, then your entire arrest is invalid. This is particularly effective in cases where the defendant was not driving erratically or dangerously.
  • Errors with the breathalyzer test. A breathalyzer test is a machine, and they can malfunction. The test can also be administered incorrectly. Different medications can also cause an incorrect result.
  • Errors with the field sobriety tests. We talked briefly above about how unreliable these tests are. You do not have to agree to take them, but if you do, and you fail, a thorough DUI attorney in Bossier City can argue that the tests are inaccurate. Certain medications and conditions can cause you to fail them.

A DUI attorney in Bossier City like Christopher Stahl will analyze your case and determine which strategy best fits your case, and which strategies are likely to succeed.

How Much Does A DUI Attorney in Bossier City Cost?

DUI attorney fees will vary, as all attorney fees do. It’s important to talk to your prospective attorney about their DUI attorney fees. You should ask them if they plan to charge a flat rate, or if they plan to bill you hourly.

A DUI attorney fee in Bossier City will also vary depending on if you accept a plea deal or decide to take your DUI case to trial.

If you decide to take your DUI case to trial, your DUI attorney fee in Bossier City will increase significantly. This is because your DUI attorney will need to put in many more hours of work to prepare your case for trial. Your DUI attorney will have to gather witness statements from onlookers and from the officers involved.

If Louisiana courts have charged you with a crime in Bossier City or Shreveport, contact The Law Offices of Christopher Stahl in Bossier City. Mr. Stahl is a North Louisiana native, and has been practicing law in the Shreveport-Bossier City area since 2012.

Contact The Law Offices of Christopher M. Stahl

If you need a DUI attorney in Bossier City or Shreveport, contact The Law Offices of Christopher Stahl in Bossier City. Mr. Stahl is a North Louisiana native, and has been practicing law in the Shreveport-Bossier City area since 2012. He has extensive experience in Louisiana criminal defense law.
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