Even first-time DWI offenses can come with serious penalties in Louisiana. Yet, yours might be in the rear-view mirror, and you might now be on your second, third or fourth DWI. Multiple offenses can have a major impact on your livelihood. But by understanding Louisiana’s DWI laws, you can prepare yourself for the penalties you could face.
Consequences for a second offense
The consequences for your second DWI will depend on the specifics of your offense. Like first-time DWIs, a second offense will qualify as a misdemeanor. If your charges lead to conviction, you could spend up to six months in jail, and you may have to pay a fine of up to $1,000 as well. You will also face a two-year driver’s license suspension. Yet, you may be able to receive a suspended sentence if you:
- Spend at least 15 days in jail
- Install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for at least six months
- Participate in 240 hours of community service
- Participate in a driver improvement program approved by Louisiana courts
- Participate in a substance abuse program approved by Louisiana courts
Consequences for a third offense
If you receive charges for a third DWI, your offense will qualify as a felony. Your penalties will stiffen, and you could receive a jail sentence of up to five years if convicted. You must serve at least one year before you become eligible for a suspended sentence. And you will also face a three-year driver’s license suspension. You may have to pay a fine of up to $2,000 as well, and you will likely undergo substance abuse evaluation and treatment. A prosecutor may also order the seizure of your vehicle, and it could be impounded and auctioned. Any other vehicle you own must have an ignition interlock device installed until you satisfy your sentence’s requirements.
Consequences for a fourth offense
For a fourth offense, you could spend up to 30 years in jail if convicted, though most sentences are shorter. You must serve at least two years, though, before you become eligible for a suspended sentence. And you may have to pay a fine of up to $5,000 as well. Ignition interlock, vehicle forfeiture and license suspension penalties will also apply.
While a single DWI charge can affect your livelihood, multiple offenses will have outsize effects on it. By understanding Louisiana’s penalties for repeat offenses, you can take steps to minimize your charges’ impact.