Like all states, Louisiana law makes it illegal to drink and operate any form of transportation. Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is incredibly dangerous, putting not only the driver in peril but the occupants of every other car on the road. A Louisiana DWI charge carries heavy penalties that may include fines, community service and even jail time.
Louisiana law increases its penalties for multiple offenses, as well. Drivers who continue to drive under the influence will face license suspension and even criminal conviction. What are the specific penalties for multiple DWI offenses?
Escalating penalties for multiple offenders
DWI offenders face significant penalties under Louisiana law that allow exceptions based on rehabilitation and education. Offenders willing to cooperate with the law and acquiesce to its demands may receive a reduced sentence.
- First offense: First-time offenders must pay a fine between $300 and $1,000 and face between ten days and six months of jail time. Offenders may reduce this sentence to 48 hours by performing 32 hours of community service, attend a substance abuse program and complete a driver’s education course. Judges may suspend the offender’s license during this time or install an ignition interlock device for 12 months.
- Second offense: Second-time offenders between 30 days and six months of prison and between $750 and $1,000 in fines. A judge will reduce the sentence to 15 days in jail if the driver does 240 hours of community service, enrolls in a substance abuse program, takes a driver’s education course, and use an ignition interlock device for six months.
- Third offense: The third offense results in a $2,000 fine and between one and five years in jail. Suspending these sentences demands more from offenders; requiring a drug division probation program; 240 hours of community service; employment; enrollment in a driver improvement program; and complete a Department of Health and Hospitals evaluation, including their treatment plan and any rehab programs. If the police do not seize the vehicle, they will install an ignition interlock device for the entire sentence or treatment.
Legal counsel can help avoid jail time
Those facing multiple DWI charges find more success hiring a lawyer familiar with Louisiana DWI laws. An attorney can assess one’s case, build a defense strategy and work with the courts on probation and rehabilitation programming.