What can I expect with my first DWI offense in Louisiana?

What can I expect with my first DWI offense in Louisiana?

first DWI offense in LouisianaIf you have recently been arrested for driving while intoxicated, it’s key to know how to handle your DWI first offense in Louisiana. Driving while intoxicated is a serious crime that can only get worse if you do not take the correct actions after your arrest. First-time offenders face penalties including jail time, probation, and fines. 

Thus, by working with an attorney, building a proper legal argument, and understanding the evidence in your case, you can see a reduction in the charges for your incident. 

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What should you do after an officer takes your driver’s license?

After your DWI first offense in Louisiana, an officer will take your driver’s license. This happens in one of two circumstances. First is whenever you refuse a breathalyzer or blood test. Although refusing the screening is not a crime, this alone is enough for an officer to take your license. Second is when you take a breathalyzer or blood test, and the results show that your blood alcohol level exceeds the legal limit.

In exchange for your driver’s license, an officer will provide you with an Official Notice of Withdrawal of Driving Privileges. This temporary license allows you to drive for up to thirty days after the arrest. It is a document that an officer provides you so that you can travel to a court case, known as an administrative hearing, where you can fight the DWI charge against you. 

Without allowing you to temporarily drive after your DWI arrest, you would not be given due process. The first thing you want to do is ensure that you always have your temporary license on you. Second, you should find an attorney to request the administrative hearing for you.

 

What will happen if you fail to request an administrative hearing?

Assume that 30 days after your arrest, you have not gone to an administrative hearing. At this time, your driver’s license will go into a suspension period. If you drive on a revoked license, you can receive fines, receive a jail sentence, and have your license suspended for a year. Additionally, there might be civil fines to pay or other punishments, such as requiring an ignition interlock device during the suspension period.

 

I was not over the legal limit. Why was I still charged with a DWI?

There are several situations where an officer can arrest and charge you for a DWI. In addition to having a blood alcohol concentration of .08, you can also receive a DWI charge when:

  • An officer suspects you of being under the influence of controlled drugs or alcohol.
  • You are driving while under the influence of both a non-controlled drug and alcohol.
  • When you are under the influence of a combination of non-controlled drugs.

In addition, as an implied consent state, refusing sobriety tests can result in automatic license suspension. Therefore, you do not need blood or breathalyzer tests to prove that someone is driving while intoxicated. Instead, it works as compelling evidence against you if you were intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle.

 

What should you expect to happen after your DWI first offense in Louisiana?

There are certain punishments for DWI charges to expect. However, the level of your charge depends on the individual circumstances regarding your DWI. For instance, you can receive harsher punishments if you drive intoxicated while looking after a minor. Likewise, if your intoxication leads to a serious or fatal accident, you can expect stricter penalties. Here are a few penalties to expect after your first offense:

  • A misdemeanor charge.
  • Up to $1,000 in fines.
  • Up to 6 months of jail time.
  •  Up to one year of driver’s license suspension.
  • Community service hours.
  • Enrollment in substance abuse education programs.
  • Enrollment in driver improvement courses.

However, these penalties become more severe if your first offense is an aggravated DWI. You may receive an aggravated DWI if your blood alcohol level is higher than .15, or if you violate child endangerment laws. An aggravated DWI requires mandatory jail time, higher fines on average, and requires a mandatory ignition interlock system in your car.

 

Should you work with an attorney while facing DWI charges?

You need an attorney to represent you during a DWI court hearing. The cost that you will pay in additional fines, jail time, and other punishments will well exceed the cost of good legal counsel. A DWI lawyer in Louisiana can help you request your administrative hearing, gather evidence, and represent you in court. 

Contact The Johnson Firm at 337-433-1414 to speak with our professional DWI lawyers or schedule your free consultation online.

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