Louisiana has strict laws concerning DWIs. Almost every resident realizes that driving after drinking is a dangerous risk to take, but sometimes people make mistakes. Other times, law enforcement officers do not follow their training, and decide to arrest people for DWIs without proper cause. However, we must remember that sometimes people make multiple mistakes, thus earning multiple DWIs. But what are the consequences for DWIs past your first offense? Do they worsen with each case, or is it the same each time?

At the Law Offices of Michael J. Vergis, we know that it is vital for you to get expert criminal defense advice after your multiple DWIs. The sooner you contact an experienced Bossier City criminal defense attorney, the better off you’ll be from the start. An aggressive defense and unquestionable experience in trial are the best defense for even the most serious of crimes. Michael J. Vergis is well-respected by his colleagues, and he’ll put you in the best position for a favorable verdict right from the start. For a free consultation, give us a call at 318-698-3724 today.

Bossier Multiple DUI Attorney

How Does Someone Get Charged with a DWI in Louisiana?

Certain circumstances constitute whether or not someone is Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI). According to Louisiana law, drivers whose blood alcohol content (BAC) reaches 0.08% or higher are alcohol-impaired. While this seems like a very insignificant amount, it is still illegal to drive at this percentage. Below, we outline the situations in which someone might be arrested for a DWI or DUI.

  • Having a BAC of 0.08% while driving
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled dangerous substances
  • Being under the influence of both alcohol and a non-controlled dangerous substance
  • Being under the influence of one or more non-controlled drugs that do not require a prescription

The higher your BAC, the higher the consequences. For example, let’s say your BAC reaches 0.15%. In this case, the penalties become harsher, often warranting an enhanced DWI in Louisiana. Further, if your BAC reaches 0.20%, the penalties are harsher still. If you have more than one DWI in a certain time period, the penalties for those multiple DWIs may also be considered enhanced. In the next section, we discuss the consequences of multiple DWIs in Louisiana.

What Are the Consequences of Multiple DWIs in Louisiana?

As we stated before, the consequences of multiple DWIs in Louisiana are steep. So you’re driving down the road in Louisiana, a cop pulls you over, and he arrests you for a DWI. What happens next? The possible consequences are highly variable, and include time in jail, fines, suspension of licenses, community service, and more. It all depends on your BAC, as well as your number of previous DWIs within a 10-year period.

Penalties for multiple DWIs vary depending on the category of the offense. While we do go into many specifics about these penalties, the following section is not exhaustive. At the Law Offices of Michael J. Vergis, we offer a general overview of what to expect. For more specific information, we highly recommend speaking with our Louisiana DWI attorneys. They will best evaluate your case and explain the possible consequences you might face. 

What Are Louisiana’s Penalties for Multiple DWIs?

In this section, we explain the penalties and classifications for a DWI, as well as subsequent DWIs. Below, we show an outline of the penalties.

First Offense DWI: Misdemeanor

  • Fines from $300 to $1,000
  • Jail time from 10 days to 6 months
  • Up to two years of probation
  • 48 hours of community service, half of which must involve garbage collection
  • Mandated court-approved substance abuse and driver improvement programs
    • Specialty penalties include: an additional 48 hours of jail time for a BAC over 0.15%
    • 48 hours mandatory jail time, plus fines from $750 to $1,000, and 12 months with an ignition interlocking device for a BAC over 0.20%

Second Offense DWI: Misdemeanor

  • Fines from $750 to $1,000
  • Jail time from 30 days to 6 months with a possibility of home incarceration
  • Up to 6 months probation, with 48 hours served in jail
  • 240 hours of community service
  • Mandated court-approved substance abuse and driver improvement programs
  • Some judges impose a 6 month period with an ignition interlock device
    • Specialty penalties include 96 hours of jail time served for a BAC over 0.15%
    • 96 hours of jail time served, plus a $1,000 fine. The driver’s license is suspended for 4 years, with 3 of those years requiring an ignition interlock device.

Third Offense DWI: Felony

  • $2,000 fine
  • From 1 to 5 years in prison, with one year without suspension of sentence
  • Up to 5 years probation, with 1 year served in jail
  • 240 hours of community service
  • Substance abuse evaluation and inpatient treatment for 4 weeks, then outpatient treatment for 12 weeks
  • Home incarceration for at least 6 months
  • Possible seizure of vehicle by the prosecutor
  • Ignition interlock device on all vehicles driven by the defendant

Fourth or Subsequent Offense DWI: Felony

  • $5,000 fine
  • From 10 to 30 years in prison, 2 years served without benefit of suspension
  • Up to 5 years probation
  • 320 hours of community service
  • Required substance abuse evaluation and treatment
  • Home incarceration for one year minimum
  • Possible seizure of the offender’s vehicle

What Factors Can Aggravate a DWI Charge?

Certain details or factors carry with them the possibility of aggravating or enhancing a DWI charge. When this happens, you could face steeper penalties and increased fines or jail time. Below, we outline some of the scenarios that aggravate or enhance DWI cases in Louisiana.

  • If someone has a BAC that is two or three times the legal limit, they face specialty penalties. These penalties include increased fines, jail time, and even license suspension.
  • When a car accident occurs as a result of a DWI, the added penalties usually depend on whether injuries occurred, as well as how serious the injuries were.
  • Other factors include reckless driving, property damage, the age of the driver, possible child endangerment, and so much more.

What Is the DWI Cleansing Period?

In Louisiana, we have something called a “cleansing period” that applies in cases of multiple DWIs. This cleansing period begins after a DWI conviction or plea, and ends 10 years after that date. Once this cleansing period passes, past pleas or convictions cannot be used against you in order to enhance further DWI charges. However, keep in mind that a 2008 law extends this 10-year window to exclude the time between your arrest and your probation time. Basically, this allows the cleansing period window to extend past the original 10-year window. Additionally, if you were charged with a DWI out of state, this still counts in Louisiana.

Do I Need an Attorney for Multiple DWIs in Louisiana?

Absolutely. Depending on the specifics of your case, as well as possible aggravating factors, you might face steep penalties for multiple DWIs in Louisiana. At the Law Offices of Michael J. Vergis, we’re here to use our 23 years of experience to your advantage. We’ve handled all types of criminal defense cases, from DWI and drug charges to expungements. If you’re facing DWI charges in the Shreveport/Bossier City area, don’t just accept your fate. There are ways to either fight your case altogether or work to reduce the charges against you. To schedule your free consultation, give us a call at 318-698-3724 today.