DWI stands for Driving While Intoxicated or Impaired. This offense is defined as driving a motor-operated vehicle under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. Furthermore, whether the drugs are prescribed or not, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of it.
DWI and DUI (Driving Under Influence) are under the same statute in Louisiana. DWI can be a misdemeanor to a felony based on the circumstances and level of intoxication. It is a serious charge and can negatively affect a person’s life in various ways. Moreover, the penalties can also be quite harsh.
10 Things to Know about DWI Arrests in Louisiana
Although it is not illegal to drink and then drive, however, it is illegal to drive while drunk or impaired. There are several more factors about DWI arrest and conviction that everyone should know about.
1. There is No Getting Out of an Arrest
Many people assume they can smooth talk and avoid getting arrested. That is not likely to happen, especially in Louisiana. The best thing to do is cooperate with the police when you get picked up as a suspect for DWI.
Do not share information about what you have been drinking or having, where you were, where you were going, etc. However, you should only answer when the police ask you for your identification or driver’s license. Otherwise, remain silent.
2. There are Mainly Two Cases Of DWI
If you get arrested for DWI, there are basically two cases. One is for DWI which will take place in the courthouse. In that case, you will need an attorney experienced in DWI in Louisiana. They will deal with the prosecutor and judge on your behalf.
There could be examinations of reports, videos, and so on. The outcomes could be going to trial, pleading guilty, or working things out with the prosecutor.
3. DWI and DUI are Considered Same in Louisiana
DWI means driving while intoxicated or impaired, and DUI means driving under the influence. In Louisiana, both are considered the same. The legal procedures and penalties will be the same for both cases.
4. Penalty Can be Based on Age and BAC
The BAC limit for DWI is 0.08 for adults and 0.02 for minors who are under the age of 21. However, minors with a BAC of 0.08 or above can be treated as adult convicts and get stricter penalties.
You can get arrested for DWI, even if the BAC is under 0.08 if the police suspect you of DWI or DUI. You can be requested for a blood test or drug test in such cases.
5. Refusing to Take The Breathalyzer Test can be Harmful
When you get a driving license, you agree to abide by the rules and regulations of driving. Therefore, you must cooperate by taking a breathalyzer test with the police officers if they suspect you. Although you can refuse to take the test, it can affect your license.
If your BAC exceeds the legal limit of 0.08, your license can get suspended for 90 days. However, if you refuse a breath test, you can get a lengthier suspension. Then you will get only 30 days to request an administrative hearing.
6. Convict’s Identity gets Published
If a person gets convicted for DWI in Louisiana, their identity gets published in the newspaper. The media gets the information from the prison and posts it.
7. DWI First and Second Offense is Misdemeanor
The first and Second offense of DWI is a misdemeanor. Penalty for DWI first offense includes 300 to 1000 dollars fine, 10 days to 6 months jail time, probation up to 2 years, 48 hours of community service. The penalties can vary based on the BAC and circumstances.
Second offense DWI penalty includes 750 to 1000 dollars fine, 30 days to 6 months jail time, probation up to 6 months, 240 hours of community service, etc.
8. DWI Third Offense and More is Felony
Getting arrested for DWI third office is a serious charge and can be convicted as a felony. The penalties for DWI third offense include a $2000 fine, jail time up to 5 years, probation up to 5 years, community service, etc.
9. Driving License Can Get Suspended
As we have mentioned earlier, DWI arrest can cause driver’s license suspension. Initially, the driver’s license can get suspended for 90 days, and you will get 30 days to challenge your suspension by requesting a hearing from the administration.
Then again, even if you win in the hearing, if you are convicted for DWI, your driver’s license will be suspended. In that case, you can apply for a hardship license. Installing an ignition interlock device and proving it the DWV is the requirement for getting a hardship license. The DWV might also require High-Risk Insurance or SR22 while having a hardship license.
If you get caught driving without a hardship license, there is a mandatory one year suspension of driving license.
10. DWI Conviction Affects Traveling, Insurance, Employment
DWI conviction or arrest can affect one’s life in several ways. They can have trouble traveling. Many countries do not welcome DWI convicts and might face Visa refusals. However, there will be no problems with domestic travel.
A DWI conviction hurts insurance or credits as well. Your conviction record will be used against you for any insurance claims, car insurance, home loans, study loans, mortgages, etc.
Furthermore, DWI arrest or conviction can affect your study and employment. As the convicts’ identity is in the public domain, employers can easily lookup for the convicts and reject employment.
Ideally, it is best to avoid driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs at any rate. One should wait till being sober and then move as driving under the influence can have tragic consequences.
Nonetheless, suppose in any way you have faced DWI arrest. In that case, you need to consult an attorney in Louisiana who is experienced in handling DWI arrests or criminal cases without any delay.