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What is the DWI Cleansing Period Louisiana?

What is the DWI Cleansing Period Louisiana

When facing a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) charge in Louisiana, it’s essential to understand the “cleansing period.”

The cleansing period refers to the timeframe before DWI offenses are considered for sentencing in a new DWI case.

In Louisiana, the cleansing period for DWI offenses is 10 years.

This means that if you have a previous DWI conviction older than ten years, it generally will not be considered when determining penalties for a new DWI charge. However, be mindful that judges may still be aware of your past convictions, even outside the cleansing period, and it could still impact their decisions.

Understanding the implications of the cleansing period can play a crucial role in your defense strategy and potential legal outcomes.

DWI Cleansing Period in Louisiana

Definition and Purpose

Louisiana has 10 years known as the DWI cleansing period. During this time, any prior DWI conviction or plea in any state cannot be used to increase charges related to a new DUI arrest.

This “cleansing period” allows individuals to redeem themselves and avoid the penalties associated with multiple DWI convictions in their lifetime.

Impact on Legal and Administrative Consequences

The cleansing period can significantly impact the legal and administrative consequences you may face following a DWI in Louisiana. If you were found guilty of DWI over a decade ago, it could not be utilized to enhance the seriousness of charges or punishment for a subsequent DWI apprehension.

For example, if you had a DWI conviction 11 years ago and are now facing another DWI charge, the new charge would be treated as a first offense. This can lead to less severe legal consequences and administrative sanctions, such as lower fines and shorter license suspension periods.

DWI Cleansing Period in Louisiana

However, it is essential to remember that the cleansing period only applies to the enhancement of charges and penalties and not to the erasure the previous DWI conviction from your driving record.

It is also important to note that the cleansing period does not necessarily protect you from the consequences of having a DWI conviction on your record regarding job applications or other aspects of your life. Many employers may still consider previous DWI convictions when hiring, regardless of whether the conviction falls within the cleansing period. As such, it is crucial to rectify your driving behavior and avoid further DWI convictions in the future.

Legal Representation

Finding a Qualified DWI Attorney

When facing a DWI charge in Louisiana, finding a qualified DWI attorney to represent your interests is crucial. Christopher M. Stahl is an experienced criminal defense attorney with a proven track record in handling DWI cases would be best.

Navigating the Legal Process

Once you have chosen a DWI lawyer, the next step is understanding how to navigate the legal process.

The Law Office of Christopher M. Stahl will assist you in navigating the complex DWI laws, ensuring that your rights are safeguarded at all times.

We begin by reviewing the circumstances of your arrest, including any sobriety test or field sobriety tests conducted and the legality of the traffic stop. If there were any errors or violations of your rights, our law office could use these to challenge the charges and potentially have them dismissed.

Finding a Qualified DWI Attorney

If your case goes to trial, our DWI attorney will gather evidence, present arguments, and examine witnesses on your behalf, using their expertise to create a strong defense.

Securing the representation of a skilled DWI lawyer is vital when faced with a DWI charge in Louisiana. When you hire The Law Office of Christopher M. Stahl, you can better navigate the system and work towards a favorable outcome.

Understanding DWI in Louisiana

Definition and Terminology

Operating a vehicle in Louisiana while under the influence of alcohol, controlled dangerous substances, or a combination of both (prescription or not) is a criminal offense commonly referred to as DWI (Driving While Intoxicated). 

DWI is also called DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or OUI (Operating Under the Influence).

Blood Alcohol Content Limits

Your blood alcohol content (BAC) is one of the most important pieces of evidence in DWI cases. In Louisiana, the legal BAC limits are as follows:

  • For drivers age 21 and older: 0.08%
  • For drivers under age 21: 0.02%
  • For commercial drivers: 0.04%

You could be charged with a DWI if caught operating a vehicle with a BAC at or above the legal limit. It’s crucial to understand that the penalties for a DWI differ based on factors such as your BAC level, whether it’s your first offense or other circumstances.

Knowing Louisiana’s DWI laws and BAC limits is vital to maintaining responsible and legal driving practices. Always drive sober, and if you suspect you may be over the legal BAC limit, find alternative transportation to avoid potential legal consequences.

DWI Offenses and Penalties

First Offense

A first-time DUI in Louisiana is a misdemeanor. You may face fines, community service, and jail time. Seek legal guidance if charged. The fine ranges between $300 and $1,000, and jail time may extend to six months.

Completing 240 hours of community service may lead to suspending this jail time. Louisiana DWI laws mandate that all first-time offenders participate in court-approved substance abuse and driver improvement programs.

Second Offense

Getting caught driving under the influence for the second time in Louisiana will result in harsher penalties. As a second-time offender, you could face a minimum mandatory sentence of at least 48 hours in jail, possibly serving up to six months.

The fine for a second offense ranges from $750 to $1,000. Participation in a court-approved substance abuse and driver improvement program remains mandatory, and you may be required to complete 240 hours of community service as well.

DWI Offenses and Penalties

Third Offense

A third DWI conviction in Louisiana is considered a felony. The penalties for a third offense include a minimum of 30 days mandatory jail time, with sentences possibly extending up to five years.

Additionally, fines may reach up to $2,000, and your driver’s license could be suspended for three years. The judge could also order you to participate in a court-approved substance abuse program and a driver improvement program and may require you to perform additional community service.

Additional Factors

It’s important to note that several factors may impact the penalties associated with DWI offenses in Louisiana. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is high, the consequences can be more serious.

Similarly, being convicted of DWI with a minor passenger in your vehicle may trigger the state’s child endangerment law, leading to additional fines and increased jail time.

When facing any DWI offense in Louisiana, it is essential to understand your rights and the potential consequences of a conviction. Consulting with a knowledgeable attorney specializing in DWI laws can help you navigate the legal process and minimize the penalties you face.


  1. Louisiana DUI/DWI Overview | Laws, Penalties, Popular
  2. Guide to Louisiana DUIs and DWIs |

Consequences and Remediation

Educational Programs and Treatment

If you are charged with a DWI in Louisiana, you may have to attend educational programs or undergo treatment programs to address substance abuse issues. These programs typically involve courses on responsible driving, the dangers of alcohol and drug use, and strategies for making better choices in the future.

Additionally, you may be required to participate in community service activities or complete a stipulated number of service hours to help you understand the impact of your actions on others.

License Suspensions and Reinstatement

A DWI charge in Louisiana often comes with a license suspension. The suspension period varies depending on the severity of the offense and any prior convictions. For instance, a first-time offender might face a 90-day suspension, while repeat offenders may face more extended suspension periods.

During your suspension, you may apply for a restricted driver’s license. Plan and arrange a designated driver or alternate transportation to avoid a DUI. Be aware of your alcohol consumption; never drive if you’ve had too much. The consequences of a DUI are serious, so always err on the side of caution.

You must first meet specific requirements to reinstate your license, such as completing your probation period, paying all court costs and fines, obtaining SR-22 insurance, and proof of financial responsibility.

Expungement and Criminal Records

Expungement and Criminal Records

A DWI charge can stay on your criminal record for a significant amount, particularly in Louisiana, where the cleansing period is ten years. Expungement, the process of removing the offense from your record, can be complex and time-consuming.

To start the process, you must file a motion to expunge with the court and fulfill specific eligibility criteria.

These criteria typically include the following:

  • Completing the probation period and any required treatment programs
  • Satisfying all court-imposed fines, fees, and restitution
  • Remaining free from any additional convictions during the cleansing period

Once the motion is approved, the record of your DWI charge will be sealed, making it inaccessible to the public. However, certain law enforcement agencies and courts can still access this information as needed.

A DWI cleansing period in Louisiana involves:

  • Addressing the consequences and remediation requirements, including participating in education and treatment programs.
  • Navigating license suspensions.
  • Pursuing expungement of your record after fulfilling specific criteria.

By understanding the implications of a DWI charge and actively working towards remediation, you can mitigate the long-term consequences and regain control over your life.

Additional DWI Related Topics

Bail and Bondsman Process

If you have been arrested for a DWI in Louisiana, you may need to post bail before being released from custody. The judge determines the bail amount and depends on factors like your criminal history and the severity of your offense.

You can pay the total amount yourself to post bail or hire a bail bondsman to post it. A bail bondsman typically charges a fee, usually around 10% of the bail amount, and may require collateral to secure the bond.

Field Sobriety Tests

When an officer suspects you of driving under the influence, they may ask you to perform field sobriety tests (FSTs). These tests help the officer determine if you are impaired and can include the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), the walk-and-turn, and the one-leg stand.

Failing an FST can lead to your arrest. Knowing your rights and understanding that you may refuse to take these tests is essential. However, refusal could result in the suspension of your driver’s license.

Insurance and Financial Consequences

A DWI conviction in Louisiana has insurance and financial consequences. After a conviction, your car insurance provider may increase your premiums or even cancel your policy. Additionally, you may face fines, court fees, and the cost of attending mandatory alcohol education classes.

Remember that a DWI conviction stays on your driving record for 10 years in Louisiana, and during that time, you may continue to face higher insurance rates and other financial impacts.

Post-DUI Job FAQs

The DWI cleansing period in Louisiana is the amount of time it takes for alcohol to be metabolized and eliminated from the body. In Louisiana, the cleansing period is typically around 12 hours, but it can vary depending on a variety of factors.

The DWI cleansing period in Louisiana is typically around 12 hours, but it can vary depending on factors such as age, weight, gender, and the amount of alcohol consumed.

Even after the DWI cleansing period in Louisiana, it is still possible to be arrested for driving under the influence if you are impaired. The best way to avoid a DWI arrest is to avoid drinking and driving altogether.

If you are arrested for DWI in Louisiana, you may face fines, license suspension, and even jail time. It is important to seek legal counsel if you are facing DWI charges in Louisiana.

The best way to avoid a DWI arrest in Louisiana is to not drink and drive. If you do choose to drink, make sure you have a designated driver or use a ride-sharing service to get home safely.

Let the Law Office of Chris Stahl handle your criminal defense case

Contact The Law Office of Christopher M. Stahl if you have been convicted of a DUI in Shreveport.

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