DUI/DWI Penalties

New Orleans DUI/DWI AttorneyOver the past decade the Louisiana Legislature has passed many laws concerning DUIs and the penalties that arise from them. Louisiana Revised Statute 14:98 holds the key to the penalties of a DUI. It states “the crime of operating a vehicle while intoxicated is the operating of any motor vehicle, aircraft, watercraft, vessel, or other means of conveyance when: (1) the operator is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, (2) the operator’s blood alcohol concentration is .08 percent or more by weight based on grams of alcohol per one hundred cubic centimeters of blood, (3) the operator is under the influence of any controlled dangerous substance, or (4) the operator is under the influence of a combination of alcohol and one or more drugs which are not controlled dangerous substances and which are legally obtainable with or without a prescription. This is a very broad law which means that a person does not have to be just under the influence of alcohol to receive a DUI but can be arrested while influenced by anything, legal or illegal, while operating any means of conveyance.

There are many issues that may arise due to the circumstances of the arrest for a DUI that can impose harsher sanctions. For example, if there is a child, 12 years of age or younger, present in the vehicle during a DUI offense in Louisiana then there is a violation of the “Child Endangerment Laws.” This law provides that a suspension of a sentence is not allowed and the minimum must be served. Also, there are certain other penalties applied to the offender if the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above a .15 or a .20. If the BAC is above a .15 then an additional 48 hours of the jail sentence cannot be suspended. If the BAC is over .20 then there is a mandatory of 48 hours of jail time, including a fine no less than $750 and no more than $1,000, and an ignition interlock device shall be installed in the motor vehicle for 12 months.  If you have been arrested for a DUI/DWI then you will need an experienced Louisiana DUI attorney who can defend your case and will fight for the best possible results.

The following are the different penalties that arise from the criminal charge of a DUI/DWI.
    First Offense DWI/DUI
1.    Incarceration
a.    Minimum of 10 days with a maximum of 6 months.
  • May be reduced to 2 days in jail and participate in a substance abuse program and driver improvement program.
  • May be entirely suspended if he or she perform 4, 8 hours days of community service activities, half of which has to be in a litter abatement or collection program as well as participate in a substance abuse program, and a driver improvement program.
  • There is a mandatory 2 day jail sentence if the offender has a BAC of .15 or more.
2.    Driver’s License Suspension
If the driver submitted to an approved chemical test:
  • 90 days, without eligibility for a hardship license for the first 30 days
  •  If under the age of 21 then 180 days
  • 2 years if the BAC is above .20 percent
 If the driver refused to submit to a chemical test:
  • 1 year
  •  A restricted license may be granted if the driver agrees to the installation of a ignition interlock device approved by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections for the period of suspension. There is no eligibility for a hardship license if a fatality occurred or a person sustained serious bodily injury as a result of the accident and the driver's intoxication is found to be a contributing factor to the fatality or injury.
3.    Fines:
a.    $300-$1,000 if under .20 percent BAC (not including court costs and other legal fees)
b.    $750-$1,000 if .20 percent or greater BAC (not including court costs and other legal fees)
    Second Offense DWI
1.    Incarceration:  
a.    Minimum of 30 days to a maximum of 6 months jail sentence
  • Mandatory 2 day minimum sentence
  • This may be reduced to 15 days in jail if the offender does a substance abuse program and a driver improvement program.
  • The sentence may be reduced to 30, 8-hour days of community service, half of which consists of litter abatement and also participates in a court-approved substance abuse program and a driver improvement program
  • If the offender had a blood alcohol concentration of .15 percent or more, there is a mandatory 96 hour jail sentence
  • If the offender had  a BAC of .20 percent or more, there is a 96 hour jail sentence and a fine of 1,000
2.    Driver’s license suspension:
a.    If the driver submitted to a chemical test:
  • 1 year, without eligibility for a hardship license
  • 180 days if under age 21
  •  4 years if the BAC is above .20 percent; mandatory 3 years of ignition interlock device installation
b.   If the driver refused to submit to a chemical test: 
  • 1 year if this is the first refusal
  • 2 years if this is the second refusal within 5 years of the first
  • A restricted license may be granted if the driver agrees to the installation of a ignition interlock device approved by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections for the period of suspension. There is no eligibility for a hardship license if a fatality occurred or a person sustained serious bodily injury as a result of the accident and the driver's intoxication is found to be a contributing factor to the fatality or injury.
3.    Fines:
  • $750-$1,000 if under .20 percent BAC
  • $1,000 if .20 percent or greater BAC 
  • 6 months mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, must remain installed and operating during the entire period of the suspended sentence.
Third Offense
1.    Incarceration: 
  • Minimum of 1 year to a maximum of 5 years jail sentence, with or without hard labor
  • Mandatory minimum of 1 year without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of the sentence. 
  • The court may suspend any additional portion of the sentence beyond the 1 year minumum if the offender is placed on probation for the same amount of time and participates in 30 8-hour days of community service. The offender must also: 
    • Undergo an immediate evaluation to determine the nature and extent of the offender's substance abuse disorder and to participate in a treatment program, including inpatient treatment for a period of not less than 4 weeks followed by outpatient treatment not to exceed 12 months; or, participate in substance abuse treatment in an alcohol and drug abuse program provided by an approved provider. 
    • Serve 6 months up to the remainder of the sentence in home incarceration, which requires: 
      • Electronic monitoring, curfew restrictions, and home visitation by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections for the first 6 months
      •  Obtain employment and participate in a court appointed driver improvement program.
2.    Driver’s license suspension:
a.    If the driver submitted to a chemical test:
  • 1 year, without eligibility for a hardship license
  • 180 days if under age 21
  • 4 years if the blood alcohol content is above .20 percent; mandatory 3 years of ignition interlock device installation
b.   If the driver refused to submit to a chemical test:
  • 1 year if this is the first refusal
  • 2 years if this is the second or subsequent refusal within 5 years of the first
  •  A restricted license may be granted in many situations if the driver agrees to the installation of a functioning ignition interlock device approved by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections for the period of suspension. There is no eligibility for a hardship license if a fatality occurred or a person sustained serious bodily injury as a result of the accident and the driver's intoxication is found to be a contributing factor to the fatality or injury.
3.    Fines:
  •     $2,000 
  •  The court may order that the vehicle being driven by the offender at the time of the offense be seized, impounded and sold at auction to pay court costs, towing and storage fees and then the remainder to be paid to the arresting agency, the district attorney and an organization that studies ways to reduce drunk driving and insurance rates.
  • Ignition interlock device must be installed until substance abuse treatment and home incarceration is completed.
A fourth or more DUI conviction will bring about harsher penalties and longer jail sentences.  Being arrested for this crime is no laughing matter and will bring about emotional and financial harm to the offender and his or her loved ones. This is why it is necessary to have an experienced DUI attorney on your side to defend against these charges. There is also the possibility of an underage DUI, and this will bring about its own penalties and sentences.

Underage DUI/DWI Penalties:
    Any person under the age of 21 who operates a vehicle with a BAC above .02% will be subject to a different scale of punishment as provided by Louisiana law.
1.    First Conviction:
  • Fine: $100-$250
  • Must participate in a court-approved substance abuse and driver educations program
2.    Second and Subsequent Convictions:
o    Fine: $150-$500
o   Imprisonment: Minimum of 10 days to 3 months maximum
o    Suspension of the sentence is allowed if:  
  • 2 days of jail is served and the offender participates in a court-approved substance abuse and driver improvement program; or
  •  Complete suspension is allowed if the offender participates in 10 8-hour days of community service, half of which include litter abatement and participates in a court-approved substance abuse and driver improvement program
Who We Can Help

With an office located in New Orleans, the Cardone Law Firm provides legal services for the entire State of Louisiana including Ascension Parish, Donaldsonville, Assumption Parish, Napoleonville, Baton Rouge, Jefferson Parish, Estelle, Gretna, Harvey, Kenner, Marrero, Metairie, New Orleans, Terrytown, Westwego, Lafayette Parish, Lafourche Parish, Thibodaux, Livingston Parish, Orleans Parish, Plaquemines Parish, Belle Chasse, and St. Charles Parish.

Why the Cardone Law Firm?

A person who just received a DUI/DWI needs an experienced attorney who can defend their rights in the courthouse and lead them correctly through the legal process. Cliff Cardone is that experienced attorney. Mr. Cardone has nearly 40 years of experience in handling these types of cases. He has sat an Ad HOC Traffic Court Judge for almost 20 years and knows the Traffic Court System as a former prosecutor, Judge, and defense lawyer. If you have been arrested, Phone Cardone at 504-522-3333or toll free at 1-888-892-2736 for a free in person consultation. The Cardone Law Firm will vigorously fight for your rights and get the best possible results for your case.