Drunk driving in Louisiana is covered by DWI or Driving While Intoxicated or Driving While Impaired laws which are defined as the act of driving or operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A DWI charge will be determined by the level of alcohol in the bloodstream of the person at the time of arrest. Blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher is ground for a DWI charge. The per se law applies for the first charge which means that just a blood alcohol content level of 0.08% even without any evidence of impairment, is enough for a DWI conviction.
The DWI accused in Louisiana has only fifteen days to request a hearing from the Department of Public Safety and Corrections from the date of the DWI citation. Failing to request this hearing would mean losing your driving license through suspension or revocation. Hence, it is really important that you know of a Louisiana DWI lawyer who can advise you of the necessary steps to undertake after the arrest. DWI arrests are generally classified as misdemeanor but with two prior drunk driving convictions on the record within 10 years period, it may be considered a felony DWI charge.
When stopped by a law enforcement officer for drunk driving, you are required by law to submit to a test to determine the blood alcohol content through blood, urine or breath if requested by the arresting officer. If you refuse to submit to chemical testing at the time of arrest, it may be submitted to court as showing of guilt and it will be admissible in court. Such refusal may result to additional penalties and sanctions on the driving license.
Your Louisiana DWI lawyer will probably advise you to submit to the test but at the same time to remember the circumstances surrounding the testing as this is where he might have something to challenge the accuser. Chemical testing should be conducted by an authorized person as provided for in the Department of Public Safety standards and techniques. If using blood for testing, blood extraction should be done by a qualified doctor or nurse or other authorized person. Additionally, the DWI accused has a right to have an independent testing done by an authorized person of his choice. The cost of the independent test is the responsibility of the defendant. And the test results should be made available to the defendant and his Louisiana DWI attorney upon request.
Refusal to submit to testing will mean suspension of license for a six months period for first refusal or 545 days if it wasnt the first refusal. If found to have an unlawful BAC or Blood Alcohol Condition, will result to the suspension of your driving privilege for six months on a first offense and one year for a second offense.
A Louisiana DWI conviction comes with severe consequences like loss of driving privileges, face jail time, pay fines, license suspension and probation. A BAC of 0.15% or higher will get the person in jail immediately after the arrest and not allowed bail or parole. Probation of sentence is only an option but only after spending two days in jail, or performing four days of community service. Additionally, you will need to attend a substance abuse program and a driver education program approved by the court.