Go to navigation Go to content

Louisiana DUI Law

Of the 901 traffic fatalities on Louisiana highways in 2004, 312 involved a driver who had a Blood Alcohol Content over .08.  188 of those deaths that involved drunk drivers who had a concentration of .16 or greater.

Legal Limits

It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle in Louisiana with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or greater.  It is also illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of any combination of drugs or alcohol.

If you are under 21, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .02 or greater.

Penalties

First Conviction

Fine: $300 - $1,000

Jail: 10 days – 6 months

You may ask for a suspension of the jail time if you fulfill one of two conditions: (1) Serve 48 hours in jail, complete a substance abuse program, and a driver improvement program or (2) serve 4, 8 hour community service shifts (1/2 of which must be as highway litter cleanup), complete a substance abuse program, and a driver improvement program.

If BAC is .15 or Greater:  An additional 48 hours must be served in jail before you are eligible for probation.

If BAC is .20 or Greater:  The minimum fine is $750 and at least 48 hours must be served in jail before you are eligible for probation.

Prior convictions only count if they are within a ten year span.  But any jail time served in that span does not count in the ten years.

Second Conviction

Fine: $750 - $1,000

Jail: 30 days – 6 months, at least 48 hours of which must be served before you become eligible for parole

You may ask for a suspension of the jail time if you fulfill one of two conditions: (1) Serve 15 days in jail, complete a substance abuse program, and a driver improvement program or (2) serve 30, 8 hour community service shifts (1/2 of which must be as highway litter cleanup), complete a substance abuse program, and a driver improvement program.

If BAC is .15 or Greater:  An additional 96 hours must be served in jail before you are eligible for probation.

If BAC is .20 or Greater:  The minimum fine is $1,000 and at least 96 hours must be served in jail before you are eligible for probation.

However, if the first conviction was for vehicular homicide or first degree vehicular negligent injury (both of which involve alcohol), then the minimum sentence is $2,000 and 1 – 5 years in jail, 6 months of which must be served before you are eligible for probation.

Third Conviction

Fine: $2,000

Jail:  1 – 5 years, at least thirty days of which must be served before you are eligible for probation.

Vehicle Seizure:  The court will take possession of your vehicle, impound it, and then sell it at auction.

In order to become eligible for probation you must (1) seek evaluation for addictive disorders, which will include 4 weeks – 12 months of outpatient treatment, (2) submit to home incarceration for a minimum of six months and a maximum of the remainder of the incarceration.  Failure to meet the terms of probation result in re-incarceration without credit for time served in home confinement.

The terms of home incarceration will involve electronic monitoring, a curfew, and monthly home visits by the Department of Public Safety.

Fourth and Subsequent Convictions

Fine: $5,000

Jail: 10 – 30 years, at least sixty days of which must be served before you are eligible for probation.

In order to become eligible for probation you must (1) seek evaluation for addictive disorders, which will include 4 weeks – 12 months of outpatient treatment, (2) submit to home incarceration for a minimum of one year and a maximum of the remainder of the incarceration.  Failure to meet the terms of probation result in re-incarceration without credit for time served in home confinement.

However, if you have already been through a substance abuse program probation will not be available.  You will be sentenced to 10 – 30 years in jail, at least three of which must be served.

Additionally, if any portion of your sentence has been suspended on one of the prior convictions, suspension of sentence will not be available here.

Child Endangerment Law

If you are driving while intoxicated with a child 12 or younger, the court will not suspend the minimum sentence.  For a third conviction, the court will raise the minimum sentence to 2 years.

License Suspension

First offender with a BAC of .20 or greater: 2 years with a restricted license available if you opt for an ignition interlock system.

Second offender: Ignition interlock system for at least six months.

Second offender with BAC of .20 or greater: 4 year license suspension.  If the court grants a restricted license, the ignition interlock system will be attached for at least 3 years.

Third offender:  License will be suspended for 24 months and an ignition interlock system will be attached for the length of the home incarceration.

Underage DUIs

First Offense: Fine of $100 - $250, participation in a substance abuse program and a driver improvement program.

Second Offense: Fine of $150 - $500 and 10 days – 3 months in jail.  This sentence may be suspended if (1) 48 hours are served in jail and the offender participates in substance abuse and driver improvement programs or (2) the offender serves 10, 8 hour shifts of community service and participates in substance abuse and driver improvement programs.

Chemical Test Refusal

Louisiana has a presumed consent statute for submission to chemical tests.  However, you are free to refuse testing if you want.  But test refusal will result in a fine of $300 - $1,000 and between 10 days and 6 months in jail.  This sentence may be suspended if (1) 48 hours are served in jail and the offender participates in substance abuse and driver improvement programs or (2) the offender serves 4, 8 hour shifts of community service and participates in substance abuse and driver improvement programs.