In cities like New Orleans that have thriving tourism and hospitality industries, there is a high rate of arrests for driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while impaired (DWI). A conviction of an alcohol-related offense can result in significant criminal penalties and fines, and it can affect your career and reputation as well. Not all arrests lead to guilty verdicts, however, and in many cases, there are defenses that the defendant can assert to avoid a conviction. If you are charged with a drunk driving offense, it is crucial to retain an experienced New Orleans DUI lawyer who can assist you in protecting your rights. Attorney Cliff Cardone at the Cardone Law Firm can help you seek to avoid or minimize DUI or DWI penalties.Penalties for DUI and DWI in Louisiana
In Louisiana, DUI and DWI penalties are defined by statutory law. The specific penalties imposed depend on whether the conviction is for the defendant’s first, second, third, or fourth or subsequent DUI or DWI offense.
For the first offense, a defendant will be fined between $300 and $1,000 and will be imprisoned for a minimum of 10 days but for no more than six months. The sentence may be suspended, however, if the defendant is placed on probation and meets other statutory requirements. Specifically, the defendant must spend 48 hours in jail or complete 32 hours of community service and participate in court-ordered substance abuse and driver improvement programs. If the defendant's BAC was over 0.20%, however, the fine increases to a minimum of $750, not to exceed $1,000, and the defendant must also serve 48 hours of his or her sentence. Additionally, the defendant’s license will be suspended for two years. After the completion of the license suspension, the defendant will have an ignition interlock device placed on his or her car for 12 months.
If a defendant is convicted of a second DUI or DWI offense, he or she faces a fine ranging from $750 to $1,000 and a prison term ranging from 30 days to six months. At a minimum, a person convicted of a second offense must spend 48 hours in jail. The remainder of the sentence may be suspended following a conviction of a second DUI or DWI offense if the defendant is placed on probation and spends at least 15 days in jail or completes 240 hours of community service. The defendant must also participate in the substance abuse and driver improvement programs. In cases in which a defendant’s BAC is over 0.20%, the fine increases to $1,000, the defendant must serve 96 hours in jail, and the defendant’s license will be suspended for four years.
For a third DUI or DWI conviction, the defendant will be punished by a fine of $2,000 and imprisonment for one to five years. At least one year of the sentence must be served unless the defendant enters a drug division probation program. The remainder of the sentence may be suspended if the defendant is placed on probation and completes a minimum of 240 hours of community service. The defendant must also obtain a job and participate in a driver improvement program. Moreover, the defendant must undergo an evaluation by the Louisiana Department of Health to determine the extent of his or her substance abuse disorder. The defendant must participate in any treatment plan recommended, or participate in substance abuse treatment in an alcohol and drug abuse program provided by a drug division.
Finally, if a defendant is convicted of a fourth or subsequent DUI or DWI offense, he or she will be fined $5,000 and sentenced to imprisonment for 10 to 30 years. Similar to a third conviction, two years of the sentence may be suspended if the defendant enters a drug division probation program. If the defendant previously participated in a drug division probation program, however, he or she must serve three years of the sentence. Otherwise, the remainder of the sentence may be suspended if the defendant is placed on supervised probation for five years and completes 320 hours of community service. The defendant must also undergo an evaluation by the Louisiana Department of Health and participate in the treatment plan that it recommends or a substance abuse treatment program.Contact a Skilled DUI Lawyer in New Orleans
A DUI or DWI conviction can result in both criminal and civil penalties. However, Attorney Cliff Cardone can help a defendant raise any defenses that may be applicable in an effort to avoid DUI or DWI penalties. PHONE CARDONE. You can contact Mr. Cardone at 504-522-3333, or through the online form to set up a free and confidential consultation.