It can be important to know the penalties for DUI in Louisiana, not because you would want to be aware of what you would face if you are ever caught, but to understand how severe the penalties can be. Driving while intoxicated can cause devastating accidents that can not only kill the intoxicated driver, but innocent people who are sharing the road with them. For this reason, a first offense DWI is misdemeanor and will consistently have harsher penalties the more DWI’s that are accumulated within a ten-year period.

The first law you should know is you are breaking the law by operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.8 percent or higher. Higher amounts of BAC will incur harsher penalties. Here is what you can expect after being arrested for DWI in Louisiana.

First offense

A first offense will be a misdemeanor charge and will come with the following penalties:

  • A minimum of 48 hours in jail
  • Fines ranging from $300 to $1,000
  • Probation of up to two years
  • Mandatory substance abuse classes lasting 30-hours with mandatory attendance
  • Community service work such as garbage pick-up for minimum of 30 hours

If your BAC exceeds .15 you will accrue an additional 48 hours of jail time and if over .20, besides the additional 48 hours of jail time, there will be a fine of $750 to $1,000.

Second offense

A second offense will be a misdemeanor charge and will come with the following penalties:

  • A minimum of 48 hours in jail that is not eligible for suspension
  • Fines ranging from $750 to $1,000
  • Community service work for 30-days
  • Mandatory substance abuse classes lasting 30-hours with mandatory attendance – classes will need to be completed even if you completed the class after your first offense
  • Possibility of a six-month ignition interlock system being placed in your car based on what your BAC level was at

If your BAC is over .15 the jail sentence will be 96 hours. If over .20 you will face 96 hours of jail time, a fine of $1,000, license suspension of 4 years and an ignition interlock system will be installed in your car for three years.

Third offense

A third offense will be a felony charge and will come with the following penalties:

  • $2,000 fine
  • Jail time between one and five years that may include hard labor
  • Community service work for 30-days
  • Required evaluation to determine addictive disorder
  • Inpatient treatment for four weeks and 12 months of out-patient treatment
  • Probation if there is a suspended sentence that will require home incarceration and may be required to wear a tracking device which will be paid for by you
  • Vehicle may be seized and sold
  • Ignition interlock device will be placed in all vehicles you will drive

As you can see, DWI in Louisiana comes with steep consequences. A fourth offense can bring a prison sentence up to 30 years and a fine of $5,000. You do not want to face any of these charges alone. If you are arrested for a DWI, you should speak to an attorney who can review your case and provide the knowledge and guidance you will need.