Shreveport/Bossier DWI Defense Attorney
Not only can receiving a DWI charge be embarrassing for the moment, but it can also follow you around for the rest of your life. It can infiltrate nearly every aspect of your life. From your career to your personal life to even your finances. Those who have been arrested for a DWI in Shreveport, Louisiana need someone on their side to advocate for them and give them the best chance at turning this charge around. That person is Michael J. Vergis.
The Law Offices of Michael J. Vergis, a general practice law firm located in Northwest Louisiana, is committed to providing individuals with DWI charges with the best possible defense in the region. We work hard to ensure our client’s rights remain protected at all costs. With an excellent reputation among judges, prosecutors, and court personnel, you’re in good hands when you have Shreveport Attorney at Law Michael J. Vergis on your side.
How to Beat a DWI in Louisiana
A DWI, or driving while intoxicated, charge can bring about serious consequences in Louisiana. Louisiana laws define driving while intoxicated as a crime that is committed when an individual drives (1) while under the influence of alcohol or controlled dangerous substances, (2) with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher, (3) after mixing alcohol with a non-controlled dangerous substance, or (4) while under the influence of one or more non-controlled drugs that are attainable without a prescription. If a driver is found to have a BAC over .15, the penalties increase to an enhanced DWI charge in Louisiana. At .20, the penalties increase again and become even harsher.
If a person has been caught driving while intoxicated (or under the influence of drugs, for that matter), there is no doubt they will go unpunished. However, with a skilled attorney and the right defense strategy, there is a chance that these charges may be beat. Michael J. Vergis provides clients with their best chance at reducing or avoiding convictions altogether. Through tough litigation and negotiation, there is a possibility that DWI charges may be reduced to careless and reckless driving charges or even dropped. In the case that a DWI cannot be dropped entirely and the charge is inevitable, an experienced Shreveport DWI defense attorney can often lessen the severity of the punishment, whatever it may be.
Is a DWI a Misdemeanor or a Felony?
The penalties for a DWI vary depending on the circumstances surrounding the case, but are very strict nonetheless. While the majority of vehicle and traffic violations are not considered to be criminal offenses, a DWI is. This is because of the danger that driving while intoxicated or under the influence poses to both the offender committing the act as well as other drivers on the road. So, what makes one DWI charge a misdemeanor and another a felony?
Essentially, what separates a misdemeanor DWI from a felony DWI is the number of prior offenses. Multiple DWIs in Louisiana warrant much harsher penalties than a single offense. For example, a first and second offense DWI charge is considered a misdemeanor. A third, fourth, or subsequent offense becomes a felony charge in Louisiana and, as such, is met with harsher penalties.
Penalties for a DWI charge in Louisiana often include jail time, probation, fines, community service, and possibly even more, depending on any prior convictions. For a first time offense, the DWI will be considered a misdemeanor, and the penalties may include between $300 to $1,000 in fines and anywhere from 10 days to 6 months in jail (or house arrest). If the court grants probation, the offender must spend 48 hours in jail or complete 32 hours of community service. Completion of a substance abuse and driver improvement program will also be required.
A second time offense is still a misdemeanor, but fines increase to $750 to $1000 and jail time to 30 days to 6 months. Home incarceration is also an option. Probation is available, but 48 hours of jail time must be served along with 240 hours of community service. Re-education programs (mentioned before) must also be completed.
Once it becomes a third time offense, the charge goes from a misdemeanor to a felony offense. With this, fines increase to up to $2,000 and 1 to 5 years imprisonment. Probation is available, but at least one year in jail, 240 hours of community service, and re-education programs must be completed.
For fourth or subsequent offenses, the felony DWI will be met with a fine of $5,000, 10 to 30 years imprisonment, 5 years probation, and 320 hours of community service.
For both third and fourth-time DWI offenses, the offender must also undergo substance abuse treatment, spending 4 weeks inpatient and up to 12 months outpatient. An ignition interlock device will also be required for the offender’s vehicle(s), or the vehicle may be even seized and sold at the prosecutor’s discretion.
The penalties for a DWI may be distressing, but there are many defenses available to fight a DUI in Shreveport or Bossier. Michael J. Vergis will work diligently to use these defenses in your favor. Some of the DWI defenses that may be used to beat your charge include but are not limited to:
- Illegal arrest
- Lack of probable cause for the initial stop
- Lack of evidence
- Miranda rights violation
- Administrative mistakes in the blood and/or breath tests procedures
If your attorney can prove one or more of these defenses, it is likely that your charge will be dropped or at the very least reduced significantly.
That is why it is so important to hire an experienced Louisiana DWI attorney. Your future may very well depend on it. If you or a loved one has been charged with a DWI, contact the Law Offices of Michael J. Vergis. You can call us at 318-698-3724 to schedule your free consultation and get us working for you today.