DUI in Louisiana

Louisiana has a system like most states which declares that if you are driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 per cent or more (configured through either a breathalyzer, urine, or blood sample) then you are legally impaired and are considered unable to operate a motor vehicle safely.  This percentage is reduced to .02 per cent if you are under the legal drinking age of 21.  You are also considered under the influence if at any time you refuse to cooperate in testing your blood alcohol level.  This is considered an automatic admission of guilt in any court.

DUI Offenses

In the state of Louisiana, an officer can make an arrest for the following drunk driving offenses:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substance
  • Driving with a BAC of .08 or greater
  • If under the age of 21, driving witha BAC of .02 or greater

Under DUI law, 'driving' is defined as operating a motor vehicle, aircraft, boat or vessel, or any other mode of transportation in the state.

Louisiana DUI Penalties

Court Fines Potential Jail Time License Suspension
1st Conviction Up to $1,000 Up to 6 months
Up to 90 days
2nd Conviction Up to $1,000 2 days - 6 months Up to 1 year
3rd Conviction Up to $2,000 1 year - 5 years 2 years
4th Conviction Up to $5,000 Up to 30 years
2 years

Charges Associated with DUIs

Getting a DUI in Louisiana is generally considered a misdemeanor and can result in having one’s license revoked, as well as the possibility of jail time, fines and community service.  However, if this is the third offense for a DUI in the last ten years then the law changes and allows room for the driver to be charged with a felony offense.  This change was enacted to help curb repeat offenders by allowing for three DUI arrests while at the same time ensuring that someone who gets into trouble less often can make more than one mistake without ruining his or her life.

Differences for DUI laws in Louisiana

Unlike some other states, Louisiana has some allowances for people who are driving and test under the .08 per cent.  If your blood alcohol is tested under .05 per cent then you are not considered to have been drinking, while if you test between .05 and .08 per cent then you have been drinking but it has not impaired your judgment.  In other states this is not the case and the police officer can arrest you with any indication of a blood alcohol level.   It is also important to note that for those drivers under 21, the ruling of .02 per cent blood alcohol as making someone eligible to receive a DUI in Louisiana stands.

Important Court Information

Drivers in Louisiana should be made aware that they only have fifteen days from the point of arrest to request a trial or their license will be automatically suspended.  This request for a hearing must be made to the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections.  If no such request is made then the driver’s license will be revoked without further consideration.  This is known as a mandatory license suspension.

Chemical Testing and Implied Consent Laws

Under Louisiana state law, any licensed person operating a motor vehicle automatically gives his or her consent to an approved test (blood, breath, or urine) for the purposes of showing intoxication.  Refusing to take a test will incur consequences including license suspension from between 180 days to 545 days.

Chemical tests must be administered by licensed personnel according to standards set by the Department of Public Safety.  Blood tests must be carried out by a doctor, nurse, technician, or chemist.  In addition, a driver accused of a DUI offense has the right to request a second, independent, chemical test at his or her own expense.

If you are worried about a DUI conviction, talking to a DUI attorney can help.

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