Louisiana is one of eight states across the country that allow attachment of ignition interlock devices to vehicles even if the person is a first-time offender of drunk driving. This is a considerably serious provision, as not only is an ignition interlock device costly to install, it also prevents the driver from having a preset alcohol limit (even within a legal limit) while driving.
What is an ignition interlock device? It is a device that is attached to the vehicles ignition system and prevents the vehicle from starting if the driver’s blood alcohol level is above a certain limit. It is basically an in-car alcohol breath-screening device. In Louisiana, a refusal to submit to a chemical test to determine the blood alcohol content of a driver when they are arrested for a first or second time offense can even become grounds for requiring one of these devices. In addition to this, if someone is convicted of a DUI/DWI and their blood alcohol content is higher than 0.20 and this is their first offense, they will have a restricted driver’s license for the entirety of their two-year sentence and must have a functioning device installed in their vehicle within the first 12-months of their suspension.
Not only does the ignition interlock device have a startup cost in addition to a substantial monthly fee, it must be installed in any and all vehicles the convicted drunk driver drives. This can add up to a substantial monthly set-back. In addition to this, having a suspended license for an extended period can make it difficult to get around-bus and taxi fares add up, making it difficult to make ends meet.
There are a number of reasons drunk driving charges should be taken seriously from the onset and only some of them have been mentioned above. There are, however, a number of ways through which one can defend themselves and protect their rights and an experienced attorney may be able to help guide Louisiana residents through the process.