Possible Penalties for DWI Conviction in Louisiana

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A driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge in Louisiana can be confusing. (It’s often known as a driving under the influence, or DUI, charge in other states.)

Will you have to pay a fine if you’re arrested for DWI? Lose your license? Go to jail? 

The answer depends on a number of factors. In an effort to answer these questions, the experienced DWI attorneys at Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias address this question in this blog, as well as the potential penalties you stand to face if arrested for DWI in New Orleans.

  • First Offense DWI in Louisiana

Consequences for a first offense DWI include:

  • Driving privileges suspended for up to 90 days
  • Up to six months in jail
  • Fined up to $1,000, in addition to court costs
  • Second Offense DWI in Louisiana

Consequences for a second offense DWI are slightly more severe. These include:

  • Driving privileges suspended for up to one year
  • Mandatory 48 hours in jail
  • Up to six months of additional jail time
  • Fined up to $1,000, in addition to court costs
  • Third Offense DWI in Louisiana

Understandably, a third DWI offense has even stricter penalties. These consequences can look like the following penalties:

  • Driving privileges suspended for up to two years
  • Mandatory 30 days in jail
  • Up to five years in prison
  • Possible home confinement
  • Fined up to $2,000, in addition to court costs
  • Possible loss of vehicle
  • Six weeks in an inpatient substance abuse program, plus 12 months in an outpatient substance abuse program

What happens after a fourth or subsequent DWI arrest in Louisiana?

In Louisiana, a fourth or subsequent DWI arrest carries very serious consequences. If convicted, you could face significant jail time, fines, and a permanent revocation of your driver’s license. 

In addition, the court may order you to attend substance abuse treatment and participate in community service. 

Because of the severity of these penalties, it’s crucial to hire an experienced DWI attorney who can help you mount a strong defense. Your lawyer may be able to negotiate a plea deal or argue for a reduced sentence, but time is of the essence in these cases. If you’re facing a fourth or subsequent DWI charge, it’s important to take the situation seriously and seek the assistance of a qualified attorney as soon as possible.

What to do if you’re arrested for DWI in Louisiana

Here are some things to do after being arrested for DWI in Louisiana:

  1. Hire an experienced DWI attorney to represent you.
  2. Write down everything you can remember about the events leading up to your arrest.
  3. Gather any evidence that could help your case, such as witness statements, photographs, or video footage.
  4. Be cooperative with law enforcement officers, but do not volunteer any information beyond what is necessary.
  5. Refrain from discussing your case with anyone other than your attorney.
  6. Attend all scheduled court appearances and meetings with your attorney.
  7. Follow any court orders, such as attending substance abuse treatment or completing community service.
  8. Take steps to address any underlying issues that may have contributed to your DWI arrest, such as alcohol or drug addiction.
  9. Avoid getting behind the wheel of a vehicle if you have been drinking.

Contact Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias Today

It’s crucial to take your DWI charge seriously and seek the assistance of a qualified attorney to protect your rights and minimize the impact on your life. If you have been charged with DWI in Louisiana, contact our Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias defense team today to discuss your defense options. 

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By George Vourvoulias

George is a founding member and managing member of Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias L.L.C., a New Orleans law firm. George concentrates his practice in maritime personal injury, construction litigation, personal injury, workers' compensation, medical malpractice, and DUI defense. George Vourvoulias's Google+ Profile