A DWI or DUI charge can be devastating. In Louisiana, it is a serious criminal offense that can cause stress in your personal life and put your future at risk. You could be facing jail time, fines, community service, license suspension, and more.
With your future at stake, it’s more important than ever to choose a top criminal defense attorney with a history of successfully handling DWI/DUI cases. The Johnson Firm specializes in representing clients who are facing DWI or DUI charges, helping reduce penalties and get the best results possible.
With over 20 years of experience, you can be confident that your case and future are in the right hands.
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HOW DWI/DUI CHARGES WORK IN LOUISIANA
Louisiana R.S. 14:98 states the code of law for the operation of a vehicle while intoxicated. Louisiana has a zero-tolerance policy for intoxicated driving. When a person’s blood alcohol content is .08% or higher while operating any motorized vehicle, you are subject to penalties under Louisiana law. If your DWI charge included vehicular homicide, then these penalties can be even more severe. These can include:
Greater penalties for excessively high BAC
License suspension from refusing to test or failing the BAC test
Fines – From hundreds to thousands of dollars
Jail time – From a few days to a few years
Ignition interlock devices (IIDs) ordered by the judge
A DWI or DUI charge has severe consequences in Louisiana. The legal process can be complex and confusing, and many different outcomes are possible. Potential outcomes for your DWI/DUI charge can vary based on prior convictions, age, blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of the event, and other incidents that may have occurred, such as an accident, injury, drugs, and more.
Drunk driving is a mistake, but you still have legal rights.
A DWI/DUI arrest imposes two legal proceedings. A criminal proceeding on the charge itself and an administrative proceeding that can lead to the cancellation of license. Hiring a DUI attorney can help in the following ways:
Question the cancellation of license in the court hearing.
Establish relevant facts in defense of the criminal charge.
Look for chances of improperly conducted breath analyzer tests due to poor maintenance or incorrect calibration.
Find biological reasons for the presence of alcohol in the blood in favor of the defense.
No matter the scenario you’re facing, we’re here to guide you through the process.
The Johnson Firm is here to help you reduce or beat your charges. We diligently study your case and help you exercise all of the rights you are entitled to. Our goal is to minimize penalties, dismiss charges, and/or reduce the charges imposed on you. We question your charges, gather evidence and relevant facts in your defense, and find potential flaws in your charges.
The Johnson Firm navigates the DWI/DUI legal process for you, helping you understand your options and map out your next steps the entire way. With our history of success in DWI/DUI cases in Louisiana, you can be confident in your future.
At the very first hearing in your case, our criminal defense attorney files numerous motions requesting any and all evidence that the prosecutor intends to use against you in order to strategically employ defenses aimed at achieving the best possible outcome in your case, whether it be a reduction in charge(s) or an outright dismissal. These motions also demand evidence that the State has in its possession which is favorable to the defendant’s case, commonly referred to as exculpatory evidence. Likewise, often times it is necessary for additional motions be filed to demand evidence not initially disclosed that shed light on a sloppy investigation, dishonest police officers, or a failure by the police to preserve evidence and/or follow policy. To that end, evidence may be suppressed (i.e. ruled inadmissible/thrown out) if it is determined that such evidence was unconstitutionally seized or if the police officer failed to preserve evidence properly as required by law. The following are some DWI defenses that have been successfully utilized:
No Probable Cause: Many arrests are made without a warrant; however, in order for the arrest to be deemed legal, probable cause must exist to justify the stop and arrest. Additionally, officers must obtain a valid warrant prior to searching and seizing evidence from a person’s property. If the facts listed in the affidavit supporting the warrant do not constitute probable cause, our criminal defense attorney will file a motion to suppress the evidence seized as a result of the invalid warrant. This can result in your charge(s) being dismissed or drastically reduced.
Violation of Constitutional Rights: Everyone has a constitutional right against self-incrimination; therefore, an officer must advise a person of their rights, including their right to refuse questioning, prior to any interrogation and/or testing. Officers routinely fail to properly honor a suspect’s right to refuse questioning or cutoff questioning. Accordingly, when the officer fails to honor the suspect’s rights, statements made by the subject may be suppressed and the charges dismissed.
Invalid Chemical Test: An officer is required to comply with certain guidelines prior to administering a chemical test, including but not limited to, observing the person for at least 15 minutes, advising the person of their rights related to chemical testing, and verifying that the machine is properly calibrated. Officers routinely fail to follow these guidelines and/or pressure a defendant to submit to a chemical test. In such situations, a motion to suppress may be filed to excluded the breath test of blood test results based on a lack of consent and/or failure to follow applicable law.
Rising BAC: A person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) continues to rise after they have stopped drinking. In some cases, there is a large time lapse between when a person received a chemical test and when they were driving. Therefore, it would have to be proven that the person was over the legal limit at the time they were actually operating the vehicle. If many instances, a “BAC on the rise” defense may be urged and result in the charges being reduced or dismissed.
Inadequate Training: An officer must successfully complete the required DWI courses and possess a valid certification prior to conducting a DWI investigation and administering the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and/or chemical tests. Moreover, in DWI cases, it is common that officers rely on the suspect’s performance on the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests as a basis for probable cause. However, many of the officers that conduct these tests do so improperly and in a way that contradict NHTSA standards. As a result, a failure by the police officer to administer the test properly can result in the arrest being deemed unconstitutional and the charges dismissed based on incompletely performed scientific tests.
Missing Video Footage: Law enforcement agencies have specific policies and procedures in place that mandate officers to record their investigation and interaction with parties involved. Therefore, unit and/or body camera footage should be available from every officer that was on scene assisting with the investigation in order to give an accurate depiction of the events that took place. When material and or exculpatory video is lost, our criminal defense attorney will seek to have the charges dismissed based on a violation of due process.
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Don’t fight a DWI or DUI charge alone. Make sure that you get top DWI/DUI legal representation on your side.
From the moment you get in touch with us, you’ll receive personalized attention. We’ll help you get through this tough time and move toward a brighter future. Whether you live in Lake Charles or the surrounding area, you can get started resolving your case today with a top legal team that you can trust.