If you’ve been charged with a first offense DWI, you’re likely feeling overwhelmed, full of guilt, and scared about how this charge will impact your future.
Injury attorneys in Baton Rouge are here to help you understand the implications and what to expect following your first Baton Rouge DWI. In the event that your first DWI resulted in an accident, start by requesting medical attention, even for seemingly inconsequential injuries. Something as simple as tooth pain or a stiff neck could turn out to be TMJ or a herniated disc.
First Offense DWI: The Basics
Before we do anything else, let’s first make sure you’re clear on the basic regulations surrounding a Baton Rouge first-offense DWI laws.
If you’re over the age of 21, the legal blood alcohol content you can drive with is set at 0.08%. If you’re under the age of 21, that limit drops to 0.02%. If you’re operating a commercial vehicle, like a delivery truck, the limit is 0.04%.
Additionally, you need to know that as long as you’re driving with a Louisiana license, you have consented to have your blood alcohol level tested by a police officer if you’re pulled over for suspected drunk driving.
This is known as the Law of Implied Consent. Many have pointed out the problematic nature of this law, and are fighting to have it changed.
If you refuse to let the officer give you either a breathalyzer test or a blood test, you’re looking at an automatic 365 license suspended/revoked for a first offense. (For future reference, that revocation period goes up to 730 days for your second offense.)
When your license suspension period is over, you’ll still be required to have an SR-22 on you for three years after the end of the period.
Further, your first and second offense will be classified as a misdemeanor. However, if you’re charged with a third offense, you’ll be charged with a felony.
Of course, whether it’s your first drunk driving offense or your third, keep in mind that if your actions cause a fatality, you’re looking at potentially 30 years behind bars.
The Penalties You Can Expect
We all make mistakes, but your actions have serious consequences in the eyes of the Louisiana law — even if you’re facing a first offense DWI.
When you’ve been charged with a DWI, you’ll have to deal with both criminal and administrative penalties. Both of these can be costly, and can seriously impact your life.
You may have trouble getting to work, may face disciplinary action from your employer, and will likely face financial hardship as a result of the fines you’ll need to pay.
You can expect:
- A possible prison sentence of up to six months
- At least 48 hours in jail
- A fine ranging from $300-$1,000
- A maximum of two years of probation
- 30 hours of re-education classes
- A minimum of 30 hours of community service
When it comes to those required re-education classes, you should expect to be faced with mandatory attendance. Additionally, these re-education classes must include three courses in a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) victim impact program, a driver improvement course, and a course in substance abuse.
Additionally, these re-education classes must include three courses in a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) victim impact program, a driver improvement course, and a course in substance abuse.
In other words, expect to spend a lot of time in the classroom as a part of your rehabilitation effort.
When it comes to community service, there are also specific rules that apply. A minimum of half of the 32 hours you’re expected to serve will need to take place outside, where you’ll be picking up garbage on the street.
A minimum of half of the 32 hours you’re expected to serve will need to take place outside, where you’ll be picking up garbage on the street.
Other Potential Penalties
However, be aware that the penalties listed above aren’t the only possible consequences you’ll be faced with when it comes to your first offense DWI in Baton Rouge.
If your BAC was over 0.15%, then you’ll add another 48 hours to your initial jail sentence. There will be no possibility of having this additional jail time suspended.
If your BAC was over 0.20%, the penalties increase, you’ll have get more jail time. However, you’ll also be faced with a minimum fine of $750 — that can still go all the way up to $1,000.
You’ll also have an ignition interlock device installed in your car for 12 months. This means that, in order to turn your car on, you’ll need to blow a clean breathalyzer test.
Finally, if your DWI offense also violated Louisiana’s child endangerment laws, you’ll lose the possibility for specific jail sentences.
Applying For A Hardship License
Depending on the severity of your offense, you may be eligible to apply for a hardship license 30 days after your initial license suspension.
Essentially, this means that the courts agree to issue you a restricted license — if you can prove that you would suffer serious hardship if your license was suspended for the full period.
Of course, you’ll only be allowed to drive to specific places, like school, work, or your re-education classes. It’s not a complete suspension of the sentence, so don’t treat it like one if you want to remain in good standing.
Once you’ve served all of your sentence, paid the penalties, and completed the re-education requirements, you’ll be able to get your full license re-instated. Again, this process can get complicated, so it’s best to work directly with professional legal help.
To learn more about the reinstatement process, you can also get in touch with your DMV.
Get Legal Help With Your First Offense DWI
We understand that navigating the complex legal process surrounding DWI cases can be intimidating — and emotional.
However, if you’ve been charged with a DWI, having experienced and qualified legal help will make the process much more straightforward. It can also help you to reduce the potential penalties you’ll face.
We offer a live chat feature, so you can start getting the advice you need right away. With over $75 million litigated for past clients, we have a record you can trust.
Don’t let one mistake ruin your life. If you have been charged with driving under the influence in Baton Rouge and need an attorney, we can help. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have and guide you through the process.
Contact us today.
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– Stephen Babcock