DUI Charges

Areas of Practice

Arrests for driving under the influence are at an all-time high in Louisiana. If you are stopped for any reason operating a car, boat or other motor vehicle, you can be arrested if the officer suspects you are legally intoxicated at the time of the traffic stop. Regardless, if you are under the influence of alcohol, illegal substances or legally prescribed narcotics, you can be arrested and charged.

If you have been stopped for any reason and the officer suspects you are under the influence, he may require you to perform various field sobriety tests video recorded from his patrol vehicle. The officer may also perform an eye test and if he suspects you are “legally intoxicated,” and may place you under arrest even if you refuse to submit to a breath test of over .08. If you submit to the breath test and there is no alcohol present and the officer finds physical signs of intoxication, he can require a urine sample, and if narcotics are present, you can be charged. Even if there are legally prescribed prescription drugs found, you can still be charged and convicted of a D.U.I.


Minimum Jail Terms

First Offense
  • No mandatory jail time will be served unless you have a BAC reading of .20 or above. There is a 2 day minimum sentence or 48 hours of community service.
  • Maximum sentence of up to 6 months
  • Fine of $1,000
  • License Suspension for 90 days if reading is under a .20 and if over 2 years
  • License Suspension for 6 months if under 21 years of age
Second Offense
  • 30 days jail if offense is within one year of previous offense
  • Maximum sentence of up to 6 months
  • Fine of $1,000
  • License Suspension for 1 year, or 2 years if reading is over .20
Third Offense
  • Felony Offense
  • Mandatory sentence of 45 days with a maximum sentence of up to 5 years
  • Fine of $2,000
  • License Suspension for 2 years
  • 6 Week Inpatient Substance Abuse Treatment
  • 30 Days of Community Service
  • Home Incarceration for the remainder of sentence
Fourth Offense
  • Felony Offense
  • Mandatory sentence of 75 days with a maximum sentence of up to 30 years
  • Fine of $5,000
  • License Suspension for 2 years
  • Vehicle may be seized and sold
  • 6 Week Inpatient Substance Abuse Treatment
  • 40 Days of Community Service
  • Home Incarceration for the remainder of sentence

Lookback (Washout) Period

The lookback period is the time in which any previous offenses have relevance in sentencing. This period begins from the time of conviction or guilty plea, not the time of arrest, and can go back 10 years.


Suspension of Driving Privileges

Implied Consent Law
  • All Louisiana drivers consent to a chemical blood, breath, or urine test if a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that you have been operating a vehicle while intoxicated. This also includes boats, trains, airplanes or any other motor vehicle.
  • Louisiana courts have determined that if you are intoxicated and have actual physical control of a motor vehicle, you can be arrested for a DWI. Actual physical control means that the driver is in the vehicle and could potentially make it move. If the officer arrives on scene and you are sleeping in your vehicle, it is possible to be arrested for a DWI.

BAC Test

If You Submit:

Your license will be suspended for 90 days if your BAC results show you are at .08% or higher. If it is your second or subsequent offense, the penalty is a one year suspension. If your BAC is .20 or above, your license will be suspended for two years.

If You Refuse:
First Refusal
  • 1 Year Suspension of Driving Privileges
Second Refusal
  • 2 Year Suspension of Driving Privileges
Third Refusal
  • Forced BAC Test
  • 2 Year Suspension of Driving Privileges
  • Fine ranging from $300 to $1,000

While refusing to take the BAC test may warrant milder consequences than a DWI in Louisiana, you can still be found guilty of a DWI. It is possible for the prosecution to argue that you refused to take the BAC because you knew that you were intoxicated during the time of your arrest.


Commercial Vehicle or Class License

On top of the penalties associated with Louisiana’s DUI laws, commercial and licensed drivers who have been convicted as first time offenders will have their commercial license suspended for at least one year. If the driver was operating a vehicle transporting hazardous waste materials, their license will be suspended for at least three years. Commercial or licensed offenders convicted of their second DUI will be banned from driving commercial vehicles for life, which may or may not be reduced to a minimum suspension of 10 years. Depending on the driver’s license class, it is possible that commercial driving suspensions may occur if the offender is driving a non-commercial vehicle while intoxicated. If the driver refuses the BAC test their license will be automatically revoked for life. See the associated chart above for commercial and licensed BAC limits.

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