Louisiana Drunk Driving Fines & Penalties

Learn about the penalties for a DWI / DUI conviction in Louisiana.

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Louisiana uses the following drunk driving terminology: DUI (Driving Under the Influence) and DWI (Driving While Intoxicated).

What are the penalties for a DUI/DWI in Louisiana?


1st Offense

2nd Offense

3rd Offense

4th Offense

Jail

2 days to 6 months

30 days up to 6 months

45 days up to 5 years

75 days up to 30 years

Fines and Penalties

$1,000

$1,000

$2,000

$5,000

License Suspension

90 days

1 year

2 years

2 years

IID** Required

Possible

Possible   

Yes   

Yes

Lookback Period: 10 years (Period of time that prior DUIs are relevant for sentencing. Also known as a “washout” period.)

**Ignition Interlock Device

How much do you have to drink (BAC*) for a DUI in Louisiana?

Under 21

.02%

21 or older

.08%

Commercial

.04%

** BAC = blood alcohol content

How many drinks does it take? Check the BAC chart.

You may want to try our BAC Calculator, however I wouldn't let any results encourage you to drink and drive.

What if you refuse to take a chemical test in Louisiana?

Louisiana has an implied consent law. That means that if you refuse to submit to a chemical test you will be subject to a fine and automatic license suspension. Learn more about Louisiana’s implied consent law.

 

1st Offense

2d Offense

3rd Offense

Refusal to take test

6 month license revocation

6 month license revocation

2 days minimum jail term

Disclaimer: We try to keep the information provided here up to date. However, laws often change, as do their interpretation and application. Different jurisdictions within a state may enforce the laws in different ways. For that reason, we recommended that you seek the advice of a local attorney familiar with DUI cases in your area.

Drinking and Driving Laws in Louisiana

In the State of Louisiana it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or above. The .08 BAC limit is the standard measurement across the United States for an "Impaired" driver. Louisiana has lower BAC limits for minors and drivers of commercial vehicles. The Louisiana driving while intoxicated (DWI) law also covers the use of drugs such as marijuana, amphetamines, tranquilizers and barbiturates. The penalty for driving under the influence of drugs is the same as driving under the influence of alcohol.

How many drinks does it take to reach the legal limit in Louisiana? Every person is different, there are calculators, charts and graphs to reference your body weight, sex, and number of drinks, but these devices should be used with caution as your unique physical characteristics play a large role in the calculation of your individual blood alcohol concentration level. Studies have been done that have show that some people may have an increase of .05 percent for each drink taken. Given that low number, it takes very little alcohol to reach the .08 percent limit and be deemed "legally drunk".

The best answer is not to drink and drive. The State of Louisiana has strict laws for drunk driving, and when you drink and drive in Louisiana, you risk your freedom, finances and your future.

The first DWI you receive in The State of Louisiana will go on your record as a criminal offense. You will be fined up to $1,000 and you will pay for all of the legal proceedings. You could spend up to 6 months in jail and lose your drivers license for up to 90 days if you are over 21, and up to 6 months if you are under 21.

On your second drunk driving conviction you will spend a minimum of 48 hours in jail, up to 6 months. You could be fined up to $1,000 and you will pay for all of the legal proceedings. You will also lose your drivers license for up to 1 year.

If you have a 3rd DWI conviction in the State of Louisiana you will have a felony criminal record and spend from 1 to 5 years in prison, 45 days of which is mandatory jail time. You will also be fined up to $2,000. Your drivers license will be revoked for 2 years and your automobile may be seized and sold by the state. You will also be ordered to 6 weeks of inpatient and 12 months of outpatient substance abuse treatment and have home incarceration for the remainder of your sentence. Any offender placed on probation must participate in thirty eight-hour days of court-approved community service activities.

For your 4th DWI conviction in the State of Louisiana you will have a felony criminal record and spend up to 30 years in prison, 75 days of which is mandatory jail time. You will also be fined up to $5,000. Your drivers license will be revoked for 2 years and your automobile may be seized and sold by the state. You will also be ordered to 6 weeks of inpatient and 12 months of outpatient substance abuse treatment and have home incarceration for the remainder of your sentence. Any offender placed on probation must participate in forty eight-hour days of court-approved community service activities.

Can the penalties for DUI in Louisiana be reduced?

Louisiana DWI penalties range in severity based on a number of factors including whether:

  • there were prior offenses in the past ten years
  • the driver's BAC is above .15
  • the driver's BAC is over .20%
  • the driver is underage
  • the driver had a commercial license, or
  • there was a minor in the car.

If you have no prior DUI offenses, you may face jail time (or two days of community service), fines and a license suspension; however, if you have multiple prior offenses within the past ten years the fines will be higher, the jail time longer, and the license suspension either longer or - in some cases- permanent. For example, a first offense with a BAC over .15% requires mandatory 48 hours of mandatory jail time. Your ability to negotiate a favorable plea bargain is generally going to depend on whether the prosecutor is willing to allow a plea bargain or not. 

When a prosecutor accepts a plea bargain, generally the new charges that you plead to will be a "wet reckless," which is a variation on the standard reckless driving charge. (Note: there is no statutory provision on whether a wet reckless plea bargain will be accepted in Louisiana, but it's possible a lawyer may be able to create a plea bargain for you.) Even so, pleading to a lesser offense may still result in a loss of your license and a criminal record; however, your penalties aren't going to be as severe. Whether or not you will be able to plead down depends on whether the prosecutor believes you deserve leniency or not. Usually, this is more likely to occur if the offense is your first and/or if your blood alcohol level was relatively close to the limit. In any case, the best approach for reducing penalties is often to contact a lawyer. 

Can you plead to a lesser offense than DUI in Louisiana?

A defendant might receive a "wet reckless," or a conviction of reckless driving involving alcohol, as a result of a plea bargain in which a charge of drunk driving is reduced to a case of reckless driving. There is no statutory provision on whether a wet reckless plea bargain will be accepted in Louisiana, but it's possible a lawyer may be able to create a plea bargain for you.

by: , Attorney

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