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What are the penalties for a conviction on a first offense DUI?

For New Orleans residents arrested on drunk driving charges, there are numerous issues they must deal with as the case moves forward. For those who believe that a first offense does not have the significant penalties in comparison to the penalties for a second or third offense and that it is not as serious, they must understand that even a first offense can lead to extensive problems. It is with this in mind that they should do everything possible to try and avoid a conviction.

For the first offense of DUI, the person will be fined a minimum of $300 and a maximum of $1,000. There will also be a prison sentence of a minimum of 10 days and a maximum of six months. There will not be a suspension of the sentence unless the person is given probation with the following minimum penalties: 48 hours in jail or a minimum of 32 hours of community service with half being related to litter cleanup or prevention; the order to take part in a substance abuse program approved by the court; take part in a driver improvement program that is approved by the court; and be denied the ability to drive while on probation unless the vehicle has an interlock ignition device.

Also important is the blood alcohol content level. A driver who had a BAC percentage of 0.15 or higher but less than 0.20 will serve at least 48 hours with no parole, probation or sentence suspension. This will be served along with any other sentence that is given provided the sentence does not go beyond six months. For a driver with a BAC of 0.20 or higher, there will be a fine of a minimum of $750 and a maximum of $1,000. 48 hours of the prison sentence will be served with no parole, probation or suspended sentence. This will be served simultaneously to any other sentence as long as it does not surpass six months. With a BAC of 0.20 percent or higher, there will be a suspension of driving privileges for two years. There will also be an ignition interlock device installed on the person's vehicle.

For those who are arrested on drunk driving charges, even if it is a first offense, the penalties can be troublesome and have a long term effect on their lives. This is why it is important to craft a strong defense with help from an attorney experienced with helping clients with charges related to drunk driving.

Source: legis.la.gov, "98.1. Operating while intoxicated; first offense; penalties," accessed on Oct. 26, 2016

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