DWI and DUI are two terms that people often use when talking about driving while impaired. In some states, they have slightly different meanings. But in Louisiana, they are considered the same charge. DWI stands for driving while intoxicated, while DUI means driving under the influence.
Though the terms are interchangeable, this state uses DWI to refer to drunk driving. As such, that’s the charge you will typically see on your court documents if you’re accused of driving while intoxicated. Consider what counts as a DWI and the steps you should take if you’re charged with one, starting with hiring a skilled lawyer.
What Is a DWI in Louisiana?
You can be charged with a DWI if you’re pulled over for driving while your blood-alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% or higher. Most people who get a DWI were drinking alcohol and driving a vehicle before getting pulled over. However, that’s not the only way to get a DWI.
You can also be charged with this crime if you’re under the influence of drugs that affect your ability to operate a vehicle safely. This might include marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or prescription medications that can cause impairment. Some drivers mix alcohol and drugs and end up with a DWI because they’re impaired behind the wheel.
Though driving a car while impaired is certainly the most common way to get a DWI, you can also end up with this charge when operating a watercraft or aircraft when under the influence. Regardless of the details of your DWI, you should contact a lawyer to fight the charges and reduce or avoid the penalties.
How Does Your BAC Affect Your Case?
If your BAC is 0.08% or higher, you’ll get a DWI. But you may also face consequences if it’s lower or higher than that. For example, minors under 21 will be charged with a DWI if their BAC is 0.02% or higher. Similarly, commercial truck drivers can get a DWI if their BAC is 0.04% or higher.
If your BAC is much higher than 0.08%, your legal penalties may be more severe. For instance, a BAC of 0.15% can result in more jail time if you’re convicted. If your BAC is 0.20% or more, you will face more jail time, extra fines, and a longer driver’s license suspension period. You will also likely have to pay for an ignition interlock device to be installed on your vehicle once you get your license back. This ensures your car won’t start if there is any alcohol in your system.
No matter what your BAC was, it’s best to hire a lawyer who will defend you against a DWI charge in Louisiana. If you’re convicted of this charge, you could go to jail, have your license revoked, and owe thousands of dollars in fines. Having a lawyer on your side allows you to show why you should not be convicted of this crime.
What Should You Do After a DWI Charge?
If you were charged with a DWI, your first step should be to talk to a Louisiana DWI lawyer about your legal rights. You may be surprised at the number of legal defense options you have to avoid conviction or end up with a lesser charge with less serious penalties. To fight your charge, you need to know the DWI laws in this state, which is why you should hire an experienced attorney who has handled hundreds of cases like yours.
When you call Keith T. Whiddon, Attorney at Law, LLC after your arrest, we will discuss the details of your case and help you get an idea of the right defense angle for you. A skilled legal team can help avoid or minimize the jail time, fines, and other penalties you face after you get a DWI in Louisiana. Call our law firm at 318-594-3592 for a free initial consultation right away so you don’t miss any deadlines in your DWI court case. We’re eager to protect your legal rights as you deal with this serious criminal charge, so contact our law offices today.