Louisiana drunk driving penalties among toughest in U.S.

Every season has its reasons to celebrate, whether it's a holiday or the home team playing a must-win game. When you gather with others to enjoy laughter and good food, you create fond memories together. For many people, celebration includes sharing alcoholic beverages with friends and family. However, if after having a few drinks, you got behind the wheel and drove home, you may have created a memory you would rather forget.

Per Louisiana laws, it is illegal for you to drive if your blood alcohol count is 0.08 percent or higher. Before police could determine your BAC, they probably noticed you swerving over the line or missing a stop sign. Maybe another driver notified police of your erratic driving, or authorities stopped you at a check point. The worst-case scenario is that you were involved in an accident.

Even your first offense may bring severe consequences

If you are convicted of your first DUI or DWI offense, and your BAC is lower than 0.20 percent, you may be sentenced to a fine from $300 to $1,000 and incarceration from 10 days to six months. However, the judge may suspend your sentence and place you on probation if you do these things:

  • Spend 48 hours in jail
  • Complete 32 hours or more of community service
  • Receive substance abuse treatment
  • Participate in an approved driver improvement program
  • Agree to installation of an ignition interlock system on your car

If your BAC is higher than 0.20 percent, the judge will suspend your license for two years, and, after that, you will be required to have an ignition interlock system on your car for the next year.

Penalties increase with each offense

The purpose of making penalties for drunk driving so strict is to discourage you from doing it again. Nevertheless, you may find yourself in the same situation a second or even third time.

Each conviction carries more serious penalties. Fines and jail time increase, and the period of time your license is suspended is lengthened. All of these are sure to have a negative impact on your family, your job and your opportunities. You will want to do everything you can to prevent this from happening.

If you are pulled over for drunk driving, your best course of action is to consult an attorney as quickly as possible after your arrest. Having legal counsel right away will allow you to begin discussing defense strategies and ensure crucial evidence is preserved. Your lawyer will advise you on the best way to proceed to minimize the negative consequences as much as possible.

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