Louisiana’s Underage OWI Laws

How Louisiana’s drunk driving laws apply to drivers who are under 21 years old and the consequences of an underage OWI.

In Louisiana, drivers who are under the legal drinking age (21 years old) are prohibited from operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .02% or more. However, the penalties for an underage OWI violation are different than those for a standard OWI.

Underage OWI Penalties

An underage OWI carries the following penalties:

  • First offense. For a first violation, the driver will generally be looking at a fine of $100 to $250 and ten days to three months in jail. However, the judge can suspend part or all of the driver's sentence by imposing probation and requiring 32 hours of community service, and participation in a substance abuse and driver improvement program.
  • Second or subsequent offense. For a second or subsequent violation, the driver will typically be facing a fine of $250 to $500 and 30 days to six months in jail. However, the judge can suspend part or all of the driver's sentence by imposing probation and requiring 48 hours in jail, at least 80 hours of community service, and participation in a substance abuse and driver improvement program.

The judge gets to decide, based on the circumstance of the case, how to sentence the driver within these ranges.

When Underage Drivers Face Standard OWI Penalties

Underage drivers who are caught operating a vehicle with a BAC of .08% or more or while under the influence of (impaired by) drugs or alcohol face the standard OWI penalties. Depending on the circumstances, someone convicted of a standard OWI could be looking at fines, jail time, and license suspension.

Talk to an Attorney

Regardless of the charge, it's always best to talk to an experienced OWI attorney if you've been cited for driving under the influence. A qualified lawyer can tell you how the law applies to your situation and help you decide on the best course of action.

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