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What you need to know about Louisiana DUI laws

Whether you live full-time in Louisiana or, like many thousands of people throughout the nation, enter the state on an annual visit for Mardi Gras, if you plan on imbibing alcohol, you'll want to be aware of all the laws and regulations that pertain to such matters. For instance, you must be age 21 or over to legally consume alcohol in this state. However, in certain circumstances, you may drink alcohol at a younger age without legal implication.  

It's up to you to research traffic laws regarding DUI if you make the decision to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle after consuming an alcoholic beverage. Nothing can ruin a fun Louisiana night on the town like facing arrest on a drunk driving suspicion. The more you know about your rights ahead of time, the better; it's also a good idea to know where to turn for guidance if you're unsure about a particular issue or you wind up facing charges.  

Rise in divorce among older people could mean financial problems

With divorce on the rise for people over 50, older couples in Louisiana might be more likely to split up than their parents or grandparents were. However, a survey by UBS Global Wealth Management found that many couples still fall into traditional patterns of money management. The study surveyed 1,500 couples and 600 women who had been widowed or divorced in the last five years. It found that 56 percent of women left major financial decision and investments in their husband's hands. More millennial women, at 61 percent, reported this arrangement than baby boomer women at 54 percent.

However, nearly all the divorced and widowed women said that in retrospect, they should have been equal participants in financial decision-making. Over half said they were surprised by something financial after their marriages ended. Negative surprises included learning about hidden debts or spending. Women in second marriages were much more likely, at 80 percent, to become involved in marital finances.

How divorced parents may help children adjust

Louisiana parents who get a divorce might be concerned about how they can ease the transition for their children. There are several things that they can do and should avoid that will affect how well their children adjust.

Parents should talk to their children about the divorce to help ensure that they do not feel responsible for it. They should keep an eye for signs of anxiety or depression and remember that young children may act out instead of talking about it. Parents may need to check in with teachers and the child's friends to find out how the child is doing. They should encourage the child's relationship with the other parent and try to keep consistent household rules and a unified parenting front.

Three tests that can impact your future

If a Louisiana police officer asks you to step out of your vehicle, chances are he or she suspects you of drunk driving. The moment you pulled over, the officer detained you and you are no longer free to leave the scene unless the officer grants permission. Once you step out of your car, you may have a lot at stake, including perhaps, your freedom. Police often use three tests to determine probable cause to make DWI arrests. These are known as field sobriety tests.  

You're not legally obligated to take an FST; however, if you refuse, you can expect legal complications down the line should you wind up facing DWI charges in court. It's best to be as prepared as possible regarding what to expect if a patrol officer asks you to walk a line, stand on one leg or follow a pen light with your eyes. If you fail one of these tests, you may land in jail, in which case knowing where to seek support can help protect your rights

Three tests that can impact your future

If a Louisiana police officer asks you to step out of your vehicle, chances are he or she suspects you of drunk driving. The moment you pulled over, the officer detained you and you are no longer free to leave the scene unless the officer grants permission. Once you step out of your car, you may have a lot at stake, including perhaps, your freedom. Police often use three tests to determine probable cause to make DWI arrests. These are known as field sobriety tests.  

You're not legally obligated to take an FST; however, if you refuse, you can expect legal complications down the line should you wind up facing DWI charges in court. It's best to be as prepared as possible regarding what to expect if a patrol officer asks you to walk a line, stand on one leg or follow a pen light with your eyes. If you fail one of these tests, you may land in jail, in which case knowing where to seek support can help protect your rights

Will technology end drunk driving arrests?

The phone you carry with you every day to your New Orleans job is far more powerful than the computers and software that initially made Steve Jobs and Bill Gates famous and rich. Technological advances continue to come at a rapid pace, transforming our jobs, homes, family lives and more.

That advancement makes it reasonable to wonder if tech might one day soon wipe out the problem of drunk driving. Clearly, it's a problem worth addressing, with people harmed and killed in accidents every day and more than a million Americans arrested for drunk driving every year.

How police will try to prove you were driving while impaired

After spending an evening with friends at a local bar, you made your way home in your own vehicle, confident you were sober enough to make it safely. However, when police pulled you over - perhaps for a tail light, a problem with your tags or a minor traffic infraction - you ended up under arrest for driving under the influence or driving while impaired. As far as you could tell, your driving did not reveal that you had been drinking, so how did officers draw that conclusion?

Police use more than blood alcohol tests to determine if you are impaired behind the wheel. Often, their conclusion that you have committed the offense of DUI or DWI comes from a collection of observations that, when combined with a .08 BAC, may provide compelling evidence. However, many times the decision to place you under arrest is based on subjective judgments.

Asserting an aggressive defense against a DUI

New Orleans is known for a few things, such as their warm weather, close proximity to the gulf, Bourbon Street and Mardis Gras. All of these reasons cause locals and tourists to visit the city, most of them partaking in celebrations or consuming alcohol. While this is a perfectly legal action, it is not legal to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming alcohol that puts the driver over the legal limit or is not capable of driving safely. Such a situation could result in a DUI charge, causing a motorist to face serious penalties.

While it can be an overwhelming situation, it is important to take timely action following a DUI charge. In the State of Louisiana, if a defense action is not filed within a certain timeframe, he or she could face a driver's license suspension. Therefore, the legal team at Craig E. Gibbs, Attorney at Law is available to help individuals charged with a DUI understand their defense options.

Strategies for combating mass incarceration

One thing national headlines focus on when it comes to Louisiana is the size of the prison populations here. It is one of the highest rates of incarceration in the United States and the world. Understanding the problem is important, but the next step, coming up with a solution, is the true challenge.

Many believe that the first step towards combating and turning back the tide of mass incarceration is ending the war on drugs. That idea is not as solid as it seems since, according to Ron Fraser, the entire population of drug offenders makes up only a small fraction of those in prison. The solutions to the mass incarceration, not just in Louisiana, but all over the United States may lie in looking at criminal justice in new ways, such as:

Considerations for parents with kids facing charges

There is nothing funny about your children facing criminal charges, and knowing what to do in a situation may make you feel hopeless will help decrease your anxiety. When standing between your child and the law, you have to take a realistic approach and consider the best way to move forward.

You do everything you can to make sure your kids are strong, independent and obedient, but when they make mistakes, there is only so much you can do. If you are a parent worried about your child facing charges here are some things to remember.

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Craig E. Gibbs, Attorney at Law
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