Man faces first offense drunk driving charge despite past charges

When a person has already been convicted of a drunk driving offense, they can generally expect to face steeper criminal consequences the second, third or even fourth time around. These drunk driving offenses usually involve higher fines and longer jail time. However, in some cases, a person might not have to face certain DUI offenses even if they have past arrests or convictions.

Police in Lake Charles recently arrested a man after a car chase that led into a neighboring town. After the chase ended, police determined that the driver might have been under the influence of alcohol. Authorities later learned that the driver had five prior incidents of DWI. Despite this, the driver will not be charged with a sixth offense DWI.

According to Louisiana state law, drunk driving offenses have a look-back period, which means those that are older than 10 years cannot be used against drivers. Since this driver's offenses took place more than 10 years ago, he will only be charged with a first offense DWI. This is not special to drunk driving, either. Nonviolent crimes like marijuana possession also have look-back periods that vary in range.

The look-back period law is relatively recent, as it was only signed into law back in 2017. Some defendants in Lake Charles might not even be aware that their past offenses fall into this category, which could be important information when facing criminal charges. This is why it can be incredibly helpful to work with an experienced attorney who has a thorough understanding of Louisiana criminal law.

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