Second Offense DWI in Louisiana

In Louisiana there are two important time periods for determining what is a second offense (known as a look back or wash out period). The period is ten years when a judge reviews an offender’s record for assessing criminal penalties such as fines and jail time. The period is five years for administrative purposes such as license suspensions. There is a third time period of one-year, as explained below. Below are the  penalties for adult second offenders with a valid, private driver’s license. Louisiana DWI penalties range in severity based on a number of factors including whether:

  • the driver's BAC is above .15
  • the driver's BAC is over .20%
  • the driver is underage
  • the driver had a commercial license,
  • there was a minor in the vehicle.

Criminal Penalties

Jailtime. The minimum jail time for a second DUI/DWI in Louisiana is 30 days if the offense is within a year of the first. Otherwise the minimum, although listed as 30 days, is commonly suspended so that some offenders only serve 48 hours. However, if your blood alcohol level was .15 or more, you will have to spend at least 96 hours in jail, even if you do get the rest of the sentence suspended. The maximum jail time for a second DUI in Louisiana is 6 months.

Fine. You will have to pay up to $1000 in fines, plus any court costs for your case.

Administrative Consequences

Suspension of License. A second-offender’s driver license will be suspended for one year. An offender has 15 days after arrest to ask the court for a hearing to get a driver's license back.

IIDs. Some offenders may be able to get a restricted license to drive to work or school 30 days into the suspension. Those who are eligible will have to pay to have an ignition interlock device installed. In most cases, you will have to install this in your car anyway for six months, once you get your license back.

Insurance. A second-offender will also need to present an SR22 insurance policy, which must be kept for three years.

Driving School. A second-offender will be expected to attend driving school before getting a license back and will also need to endure a substance abuse evaluation to prove that the offender is not dependent on alcohol.

Community Service. A second-offender must perform up to 240 hours of community service in your Louisiana city.

Substance Abuse Program. A judge may require a second-offender to participate in a court-approved substance abuse program.

You have 15 days after your arrest to ask the court for a hearing to get your driver's license back. You may be able to at least avoid a suspension of your license this way. This will require the help of a lawyer, who can also assist you with the rest of your case. For example, you may be able to get the case thrown out if you have evidence that you were not under the influence at the time of the arrest. 

If you have proof that proper protocol was not followed during your arrest, you can plead not guilty and go to trial. If, on the other hand, you are clearly guilty of a second DUI in Louisiana, you may be able to plea bargain to a lesser crime.

Below are the  penalties for adult second offenders with a valid, private driver’s license. 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 comr.mercial license,
  • there was a minor in the ca

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. Even if a first offense with a BAC over .15% requires 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. This may still result in a loss of your license and a criminal record; however, your penalties aren't going to be as stringent as for a DUI. Whether or not you will be able to plead to a wet reckless 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, when you want to try to reduce DUI penalties, the best thing you can do to increase your chance of success is to contact a lawyer. 

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