Being charged with your first DWI offense can be a stressful experience, especially if you have a nonexistent criminal record. Having this type of offense on your record has the potential to negatively affect professional relationships and your chances of obtaining scholarships and certain jobs. DWIs can also increase your auto insurance rates.
Being informed about Louisiana drunk driving laws and obtaining experienced legal representation can increase your chances of the judge reducing your case or even eliminating it from your criminal record.
DWI penalties for first offense
Louisiana law considers a BAC of 0.08 “intoxicated.” Your blood alcohol content at the time of your first DWI arrest in Louisiana influences the severity of your sentence. If you are beyond a 0.08, the consequences become increasingly severe:
- BAC of 0.15 or higher: Fine of $300 to $1,000; license suspension of one year; possible jail time of 48 hours up to six months
- BAC of 0.2 or higher: Fine of $750 to $1,000; license suspension of two years; mandatory 48 hours of jail time
- Driving under the influence with a child 12 years old or younger: Some of the above sentences become mandatory
Other options the court may give you include 32 hours of community service and 30 hours of education through a driver improvement program, a substance abuse program, and a MADD victims impact program. You may be immediately eligible for a restricted hardship license, which includes installing an ignition interlock device for your suspension period, or a year, depending on your BAC.
Contingent on the severity of your first offense, if there was no accident, your record was clean otherwise and you cooperated with the police, your chances of having your charges reduced are much higher. Consulting with an attorney who has experience handling these types of cases can also improve the odds of eliminating the charges from your record.