Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a huge problem in Louisiana. If you are arrested for DUI and it’s your first offense, you can face certain penalties. It’s important to know what to expect and to have a strong defense.
What are the applicable laws in Louisiana?
In Louisiana, it’s illegal to operate a motor vehicle when you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs and your blood alcohol concentration is over the legal limit of .08. This includes prescription medication that you hold a legal prescription for, over-the-counter medications and illegal controlled substances. If you are arrested for a first violation of this law, you can face charges of driving while intoxicated.
However, if you have committed a first offense and your BAC is .15 or higher, you can face harsher penalties in spite of it being your first offense.
What penalties come with a first offense?
If you are convicted of a first offense, the crime is classified as a misdemeanor. However, this doesn’t mean the charge shouldn’t be taken seriously. Even a misdemeanor conviction can adversely affect your daily life.
You can expect to face anywhere from 10 days to six months in jail if convicted of a first-time DUI. You may also be responsible for paying a fine ranging from $300 to $1,000. The court may also order you to serve up to two years of probation depending on the circumstances surrounding your case.
Being ordered into community service is also common with a first DUI conviction. You may be required to perform at least 48 hours of community service, half of which could involve picking up garbage on the streets.
Judges often order people convicted of a first offense to enter a substance abuse treatment program and an educational program that coaches against driving under the influence.
With a higher BAC, there may be penalties that include heftier fines and an ignition interlock device for one year.