Drunk driving is a big NO.
To prove that, the State of Louisiana implements strict DWI laws. And, if you break these laws, you will receive harsh penalties.
But what are the Louisiana DWI laws?
What about the penalties?
Here, you’re going to learn everything you need to know, including:
- All the laws related to driving while intoxicated (DWI)
- The penalties for breaking these laws
- The dangers of DUI
- How to avoid a drunk driver
- And more
So let’s get started right away!
DWI Laws in Louisiana
The only way you can obey the Louisiana DWI laws is to fully understand them. So we’re going to detail each law relating to DWI in the next few sections.
Illegal BAC Levels
Whenever DWI is mentioned, there’s almost always a mention of BAC levels.
Now, BAC or Blood Alcohol Content is the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream. You can measure your BAC level through a breath, blood, or urine test.
In Louisiana, you will be charged with DWI if your BAC reaches the following levels:
- 0.08% if you are 21 and above
- 0.02% if you are below 21
- 0.04% if you are driving a commercial vehicle
So how long after I drink am I allowed to drive?
In general, the body can process 0.015% of alcohol per hour. So if you aim to have lower than .08% BAC, then you need to stop drinking 5-6 hours before you drive.
Implied Consent Law
The Implied Consent Law permits officers to subject you to a breath, blood, or urine test if you are suspected of DWI.
It’s called “implied” because when getting a driver’s license and agreeing to operate a motor vehicle in Louisiana, you are automatically consenting to these alcohol tests.
However, police officers can’t just stop you and ask you to take these tests. They should have probable cause to require a test from you.
Also, they may administer the test but you can also request to do it in an independent facility.
Open Container Law
To prevent DWI, the State of Louisiana bans possession of any open bottles or cans of alcohol in a vehicle.
This is called the Open Container Law. With this, drivers are not allowed to have open containers of alcohol in their vehicle when the vehicle is operated.
Open bottles and cans of alcohol signify that you may be drinking. And even if you aren’t, you will still be breaking this law and deserving its penalties.
Drugs and Driving Law
Drugs, even when given as medication, can impair your judgment and reflexes. Some drugs cause you to feel sleepy, while other drugs make you more outgoing.
Nonetheless, drugs, regardless of what type, affect your ability to think properly. In turn, this makes you drive more recklessly.
So while there are no BAC levels equivalent to drugs, you will face the same penalties for DWI if you are found driving while drugged.
DWI Penalties in Louisiana
If you are found guilty of a DWI, here are the maximum penalties you might face:
|Offense:||Fine:||Record:||Jail Time:||License Suspension:|
|1st||$1,000 + court fees||Criminal record||None||365 days|
|2nd||$1,000 + court fees||Criminal record||Up to 6 months, with 48 hours mandatory||2 years|
|3rd||$2,000 + court fees||Felony record||1-5 years, with 30 days mandatory||3 years|
|4th and subsequent||$5,000 + court fees||Felony record||30 years, with 30 days mandatory||3 years|
On top of the penalties stated above, a 3rd, 4th, and subsequent offense can lead to these penalties:
- Your vehicle may be seized
- 6 weeks of in-patient treatment for substance abuse
- 12 months of outpatient treatment for substance abuse
- Home incarceration
In summary, getting a DWI affects your whole life — and these effects are felt as long as you have a DWI on your record.
Dangers of DWI
Alcohol and drugs do more to the brain than just affect your decision-making and ability to drive. While these are the general effects, other things in your body get affected, including:
- Blurred vision and higher chances of falling asleep
- Self-control is lowered, making you more confident to do risky things while driving
- Slower reflexes that affect your response time to other vehicles on the road
- Reduced concentration, making it difficult to focus on the road
How to Avoid a Drunk Driver
Okay, so you’re not one to drink and drive.
However, you can’t say the same for other drivers.
That said, it’s a good idea to know how to avoid a drunk driver.
The best way to avoid them is to keep out of their way. Do not engage them nor signal them to pull over.
Moreover, keep a safe distance from them, especially if they are unable to drive in one direction.
You should also opt to report a drunk driver, but don’t risk your safety just to get the license plate number of the vehicle.
How Long Does a DWI Stay on Your Record in Louisiana?
A DWI adds points to your driving record. Unfortunately, these points stay on your record for 10 years.
It is only after 10 years that you are allowed to reduce those points. And in this case, you have to hire an attorney that can help you expunge those records permanently.
How Many DWI is a Felony in Louisiana?
In the state, a DWI is not automatically considered a felony. If you’ve committed 1-2 DWIs, you’re only charged with a misdemeanor.
If it reaches the 3rd and subsequent convictions, a DWI already becomes a felony.
A felony in Louisiana can lead to more expensive fines, jail time of at least 1 year, and a possibility of your driver’s license being suspended forever.
That was everything you needed to know about the Louisiana DWI laws.
So if you want to avoid the harsh penalties…
Or more importantly, if you want to keep everyone safe…
DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE!
It’s always better to be safe than sorry.