Drivers in the state of Louisiana can be arrested and charged with drunk driving if they are operating a motorized vehicle and their ability to do so safely has been impaired by alcohol or drugs. Drivers may also be arrested for DWI or driving while impaired if their blood alcohol concentration is 0.08% or higher.
Drivers charged with DWI may face two types of penalties: administrative and criminal. The criminal penalties and charges for a first time DWI arrest and conviction are processed through the Louisiana criminal court system and can include a misdemeanor charge, 2 days to 6 months in jail, fines up to $1,000 and a license suspension of 90 days.
Under Louisiana’s Implied Consent laws, drivers can also face administrative penalties for refusing to submit to a breath, blood or urine test or submitting to the test and having a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit. The blood alcohol concentration test should be done as soon as possible after the DWI arrest, and the police officer has the right to determine which test you must take.
Administrative DWI Penalties in Louisiana
If you have been arrested for DWI the officer asks you to submit to a blood alcohol concentration test they should first notify you of the consequences of the BAC test refusal. If you refuse to submit to the blood alcohol concentration test you will have your license suspended for one year. For a second BAC test refusal you will have your license suspended for two years (Louisiana Revised Statutes Annotated 32:666 and 32:667). Drivers who take the test but fail will have their license suspended for 90 days but may apply for a hardship license. You will be required to install an ignition interlock device and purchase SR-22 insurance, showing proof of the purchase to the Louisiana Department of Motorized Safety.
After the DWI arrest the officer will confiscate your driver’s license and give you “Notice of Suspension.” This notice will outline your rights to challenge the administrative license suspension. Keep in mind, in the state of Louisiana the right to challenge the license suspension must be done within 15 days from the date listed on the Notice of Suspension. You also have the legal right to hire a DWI lawyer to represent you at this hearing.
What will the DWI Administrative hearing determine?
At the administrative hearing the court will determine if the police officer had the legal authority to make the DWI arrest, whether they notified you of the consequences of a test refusal, whether you had a BAC greater than the legal limit at the time of the DWI arrest and whether you did, in fact, refuse the BAC test.
If the court finds in your favor your license will be returned to you. If the court rules against you your license will be suspended.
Reinstating your Driver’s License
While most states have extensive information about license reinstatement rules, and costs and procedures to reinstate your license online and readily available to drivers in the state, Louisiana does not. You can go to the Official website of the Louisiana Department of Safety but information at this site is limited. They state that information concerning reinstatement procedures is “coming soon.” All information about license reinstatement must be obtained by calling them at (225)-925-6146.
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