There are many reasons why people drink alcohol in Louisiana. It is involved at many parties, social gatherings, sporting events and simply enjoyed in a person’s home as a way to unwind. It is perfectly legal to consume alcohol, but the choices people make while they are drinking can lead to criminal charges. One of these choices is to get behind the wheel and drive their car.

There are serious consequences for people who are convicted of drunk driving even if it is their first offense. However, these potential penalties only increase if it is the person’s second offense. The penalties depend on the person’s blood alcohol concentration level at the time of the offense though.

If the person has a BAC between 0.08 and 0.15, they could have a fine between $750 and $1,000, be sentenced to 30 days in jail, 48 hours of which must be served in jail and be placed on probation with certain conditions. These include serving 15 days in jail or 240 hours of community service, completing a substance abuse program and driver improvement program and only drive with ignition interlock while they are on probation or while their license is suspended.

These penalties increase if the driver’s BAC was between 0.15 and 0.20. The person would have to serve at least 96 hours in jail. If the person’s BAC was above 0.20 then they will have to serve a minimum of 96 hours in jail, pay a $1000 fine at a minimum and their driver’s license will be suspended for four years.

As one can see, a second DWI conviction can result in very serious consequences. However, simply being charged with the offense does not result in a conviction. There may be defenses available to the driver, starting with whether the police legally stopped the driver. If the stop was illegal all the other evidence could be suppressed. Understanding these defenses could be very helpful for one as they go through the process.

Source: Louisiana State Legislature, “RS 14:98.2” accessed on Feb. 13, 2017