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Louisiana Considers Revising DWI Laws

Over the past ten years or so, the Louisiana legislature has revised the state's driving while intoxicated statute a number of times to enhance its enforcement of drunken driving. Recently, the state has been considering some new revisions to the DWI laws as well.

Currently, DWI offenses under Louisiana Revised Statute Section 14-98 include the following penalties:

First Offense:

  • $300-1000 fine
  • Ten days to six months of jail time
  • Up to 90 day driver's license suspension

Second Offense

  • $700-1000 fine
  • Thirty days to six months of jail time
  • Up to one year driver's license suspension

Third Offense

  • $2,000 fine
  • One to five years of jail time
  • Up to two years of driver's license suspension
  • Participation in an alcohol and drug abuse treatment program - four weeks inpatient followed by outpatient evaluation for up to twelve months
  • Community service
  • Driver's vehicle may be seized, impounded or sold
  • Home incarceration during probation

Fourth Offense

  • $5,000 fine
  • 10-30 years in jail
  • Up to two years of driver's license suspension
  • Participation in an alcohol and drug abuse treatment program - four weeks inpatient followed by outpatient evaluation for up to twelve months
  • Community service
  • Driver's vehicle may be seized, impounded or sold
  • Home incarceration during probation

First and second DWI offenses in Louisiana go on a driver's criminal record; third and fourth offenses become felonies. DWI offenses stay on offending drunk drivers' records for ten years.

One change to Louisiana DWI penalties that is under discussion is legislative adoption of a new law that allows drunk drivers who received a one year suspension of their driver's license to obtain an exemption after 45 days if they install an interlock device in their car. An interlock device is like a breathalyzer that is attached to a vehicle's starter and will not allow the engine to start unless the driver exhales a low blood-alcohol level into the device.

The state is also developing a new system that links court systems and law enforcement to track drunken drivers. The tracking system would connect computers and data systems so that DWI reports and records are much more current and accessible for prosecutors and law enforcement to obtain. The purpose is to better prosecute drivers who have multiple DWI offenses.

Our attorneys have worked throughout Louisiana and many locations nation wide Our attorneys have worked throughout Louisiana and many locations nation wide