Drinking is a popular social activity that unfortunately can also become an addiction. Drunk driving is extremely dangerous and often results in serious property damage, injury, and death to other drivers and passengers. In 2019, Louisiana had one of the country’s highest rates of fatal drunk driving crashes. If you enjoy alcohol, you need to understand how drunk driving can affect you.
Why is drunk driving so dangerous?
Drunk driving is second only to speeding as the cause of fatal car crashes in the United States. In Louisiana, drunk driving affects mostly men and young people:
- In 2019, 30% of fatal crashes in Lousiana involved a driver with a BAC of .08 percent or more.
- There were 9.4 deaths per 100,000 people that year in Louisiana among 21-24 year-olds, which is higher than the national average of 6.2 deaths per 100,000 people.
- 71% of all alcohol-related fatal and injury-related crashes in Louisiana in 2019 occurred across 16 parishes, Lafayette, Jefferson, Orleans, and East Baton Rouge.
What is a DUI in Louisiana?
In Louisiana, driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 is considered driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI). The terms are treated synonymously with each other under the statute of La. R.S. 14:98 and carry the same penalties.
Louisiana penalties for DUI
According to Louisiana law, DWI penalties consider the person’s criminal history and the severity of the intoxication. They may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed after a DWI. If the driver’s BAC tests over 0.02%, the vehicle will not move. The penalties for each offense are:
- 1st Offense: 10 days to 6 months of jail time and $300-$1,000 of fines. A driver who exceeds the BAC limit during probation may have their license suspended for 2 years and have an ignition interlock device installed.
- 2nd Offense: 30 days to 6 months of jail time and $750-$1,000 of fines. Your driver’s license could be suspended for 4 years if your BAC was over 0.20%. An ignition interlock device can be installed for at least 6 months and during probation.
- 3rd Offense: This is a felony offense with jail time of 1 to 5 years and $2,000 in fines. You must have the ignition interlock device in your vehicle until you have completed a substance abuse program and home incarceration.
When facing a DWI, it is best to consider the legal counsel of an experienced attorney. With the right approach, you can avoid the worst penalties.