If you were arrested for driving while intoxicated in Louisiana, and this was not your first DWI arrest, you could be facing a misdemeanor or felony. This will depend on the details of your case and how many prior DWI offenses you have on your record.
Either way, you will likely spend time in jail and have your driver’s license suspended for several months if you’re convicted. If these penalties would negatively affect your life, it’s important to hire a DWI lawyer to defend you in court. Consider the penalties of a second or third DWI in Louisiana, and then contact a local law firm for legal support.
What Are the Penalties for a Second-Offense DWI?
A second DWI is considered a misdemeanor in Louisiana, much like a first-offense DWI is. However, the penalties are slightly more severe when it’s your second arrest for this crime. The jail time to expect ranges from 30 days to six months. If your lawyer fights for you to get less jail time, you might end up with probation instead, but you’ll typically be required to spend at least 48 hours in jail.
If convicted, you’re also have to pay $750 to $1,000 in fines, in addition to court costs. You could also be ordered to complete 240 hours of community service, especially if you get probation instead of jail time. Your driver’s license will be suspended for up to two years, though you can usually apply for a hardship license to drive to school or work after 30 days. This will require you to pay for an ignition interlock device to be installed in your car first.
Another penalty to expect from a second-offense DWI is a mandatory substance abuse evaluation, which may be followed by a treatment program. You will also need to complete a driver improvement class approved by the court.
Even though a second DWI is a misdemeanor, the penalties can still affect your life for years. Hire a criminal defense lawyer for a chance to avoid these serious consequences for your case.
What Are the Penalties for a Third-Offense DWI?
A third-offense DWI is a felony, so the penalties are even more severe than a second-offense DWI. In particular, you could be sentenced to one to five years in prison, with or without hard labor. Your lawyer can argue for you to get five years of probation instead of the maximum prison time, but you will still have to serve one year in prison.
You will be ordered to pay a fine of $2,000 plus court costs. You might also have to complete 240 hours of community service and undergo a substance abuse evaluation. You will likely have to complete four weeks of inpatient treatment for alcohol abuse, followed by up to 12 months of outpatient treatment.
If convicted of a third DWI, you’ll lose your driver’s license for up to 36 months, and the state will have the right to seize your car and sell it. Once you’re allowed to drive again, you will have to use an ignition interlock device in your vehicle until your probation is over. These penalties are serious enough that you’re advised to hire a lawyer to defend you in court.
What Should You Do After a DWI?
After your DWI arrest, your next move should be to talk to a lawyer about your case. You have legal rights that you might not be aware of, so you need a lawyer by your side to advise you of upcoming deadlines and possible defense angles for your case. Though being arrested for DWI is severe, it doesn’t have to result in years of prison and license suspension. You may be able to retain your freedom and legal right to drive if you fight the charges in court.
Hiring attorneys who have handled numerous DWI cases will give you a chance to clear your name and avoid serious legal consequences. At our Louisiana law firm, we have successfully defended many clients from second and third DWI convictions. Call 318-594-3592 today for an initial consultation with Keith T. Whiddon, Attorney at Law, LLC.