Louisiana DWI Laws & Penalties

Per Louisiana DWI law it is against the law for any person to operate or be in physical control of a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or greater.  It is not necessary for you to show signs of impairment, just the fact that your BAC is .08% or greater is a violation of Louisiana's 'Per Se' law.

Even if your blood alcohol concentration was below the legal limit of .08% you may still be arrested for driving while intoxicated based on your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely while being impaired due to the consumption of alcohol or drugs.

The officer will use a number of factors to determine if you are under the influence including observing your driving behavior before the stop, your behavior during the stop, your ability to answer the officer's questions, how you performed during the field sobriety tests (if you submitted to them), your preliminary BAC reading and various other factors.



If the officer determines that you are indeed under the influence of alcohol or drugs you will be arrested for a Louisiana DWI offense.  Upon being arrested the officer will confiscate your Louisiana driver's license and issue you a temporary driving permit that is good for 30 days.  The officer will then forward your driver's license along with the evidence he or she has collected against you to the Louisiana Department of Motor Vehicles.

You only have 15 days from the date of your arrest in which to request an administrative hearing with the Louisiana DMV if you wish to retain your driving privileges and try to avoid having your license suspended.  It takes the skills of an experience Louisiana DWI attorney who knows how administrative hearings work to represent you at your administrative hearing if you hope to have any chance of avoiding the suspension of your driving privileges.

Louisiana Administrative Hearing Process

Upon arrest, the arresting officer will seize your license and issue you a temporary permit that is valid for 30 days, if you are eligible for a permit.  The officer will then submit his or her report and any evidence collected in your case to the Louisiana DMV Hearing Office to be reviewed by a hearing officer.

You have 15 days from the date of your arrest in which to request an administrative hearing.  At your hearing the hearing officer will review the evidence presented by the arresting officer and hear testimony from the officer about the arrest and the evidence he or she has presented against you.  You and your lawyer will then present any evidence on your behalf and then you will be able to testify on your behalf and if there were any witnesses, they will be subpoenaed to appear and testify.

After reviewing all of the evidence and hearing testimony from all parties present, the hearing officer will make his or her decision as to whether or not the evidence presented by the arresting officer is valid and the suspension should be upheld or whether the evidence against you does not justify the suspension, at which point your driver's license will be reinstated.

If the suspension is upheld, you may be eligible for a Louisiana hardship license if you meet the requirements for one after 30 days of the initial suspension period.  If you are granted a hardship license you will be required to install an ignition interlock device on any vehicles that you drive.  You are responsible for the installation costs and the monthly leasing and maintenance costs of the interlock device.  The interlock must be installed by an approved ignition interlock center.

You will also have to pay a $50 to $300 license reinstatement fee depending upon the charge and whether or not you submitted to a chemical test.  You will also be required to file proof of financial responsibility with the Louisiana DMV in the from of a Louisiana SR22 insurance policy.  Once each of these items is met, the Louisiana DMV will issue you a hardship license.

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Louisiana First Offense DWI

A first offense conviction is classified as a "criminal record" and means that you have not been convicted of a previous DWI charge within the past 5-years.  The penalties for a first offense DWI charge are as follows:

  • Jail time: There is a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 days. The maximum is 6-months. The sentence can be suspended for 32 hours probation instead, of which half the time has to be trash collection.
  • Fines: The fine amount for a first offense will be between $300 and $1,000 plus you will have to pay all the associated court costs.
  • Test refusal: A first offense will result in a 6 months license suspension with no driving during suspension.
  • DWI classes: Approximately 30 hours of education are required including substance abuse and driver improvement courses.
  • Ignition interlock: An ignition interlock will be required if you are granted a restricted license following the first 30 days of your suspension.
  • License suspension: Your license will be suspended for 90 days, you will be eligible for a restricted license after 30 days. Before the Louisiana DMV will reinstate your license or issue you a restricted license, you will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on any vehicles you drive, pay a license reinstatement fee and to file an SR22 form with the DMV showing proof of financial responsibility in the form of a Louisiana SR22 insurance policy.

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Louisiana Second Offense DWI

A second offense conviction is classified as a "criminal record" and means that you have been convicted of a previous DWI charge within the past 5-years.  The penalties for a second offense DWI charge are as follows:

  • Jail time: The jail term for a second offense will be between 30 days and 6 months. All but 48 hours of the time may be suspended.
  • Fines: The fine amount for a second offense will be between $750 and $1,000 plus you will have to pay all the associated court costs.
  • Community service: There is a 240 hour requirement for second offenders.
  • Test refusal: A second offense will result in a 6 months license suspension with no driving during suspension.
  • DWI classes: Approximately 30 hours of education are required including substance abuse and driver improvement courses.
  • Ignition interlock: An ignition interlock will be required for those who are granted a restricted license following the required suspension period.
  • License suspension: Your license will be suspended for 1 year for a second offense DWI.  You may be eligible for a restricted license if your BAC level was .02% or less. Before the Louisiana DMV will reinstate your license or issue you a restricted license, you will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on any vehicles you drive, pay a license reinstatement fee and to file an SR22 form with the DMV showing proof of financial responsibility in the form of a Louisiana SR22 policy.

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Louisiana Third Offense DWI

A third offense conviction is felony offense if it occurs within 10-years of a previous conviction.  The penalties for a third offense DWI charge are as follows:

  • Jail time: The jail term for a third offense will be between 1-5 years.
  • Fines: The fine for a third offense is $2,000 plus you will have to pay all the associated court costs.
  • Community service: A period of service will be required by the court.
  • Test refusal: A chemical test refusal will result in an additional 2 days in jail.
  • DWI classes: Must undergo an evaluation to determine the extent of the addiction before treatment is assigned.
  • Ignition interlock: An ignition interlock will be required.
  • Vehicle seizure: The court may order your vehicle to be seized and sold at auction for a third offense conviction.
  • License revocation: Your license will be revoked for 2-years for a third offense DWI.  Before the Louisiana DMV will reinstate your license you will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on any vehicles you drive, pay a license reinstatement fee and to file an SR22 form with the DMV showing proof of financial responsibility in the form of a Louisiana SR22 policy.

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Louisiana Fourth Offense DWI

A fourth offense conviction is felony offense.  The penalties for a fourth offense DWI charge are as follows:

  • Jail time: The minimum jail sentence for a fourth offense DWI conviction is 75 days and you could be facing up to 30-years in state prison.  The actual amount of time spent in jail or prison will be determined by the court and based partly upon the circumstances surrounding your case and previous convictions.
  • Fines: The maximum fines for a fourth offense DWI are $5,000 plus you will have to pay all the associated court costs.
  • Vehicle seizure: The court may order your vehicle to be seized and sold at auction for a third offense DWI conviction.
  • Substance abuse program: You will be required to attend 6-weeks of inpatient substance abuse and an additional 12-months of outpatient substance abuse treatment, plus you will face 5-years of home incarceration.
  • License revocation: Your license will be revoked for 2-years for a fourth offense DWI. Before the Louisiana DMV will reinstate your license, you will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on any vehicles you drive, pay a license reinstatement fee and to file an SR22 form with the DMV showing proof of financial responsibility in the form of a Louisiana SR22 insurance policy.

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Penalties for Refusing a Chemical Test

If you refused a chemical test the officer is required to inform you of the penalties for refusal and then ask you again if you will submit to a chemical test.  If you refuse a chemical test in Louisiana, your driver's license will be suspended for 180 days for a first offense DWI.  A second or subsequent refusal will result in your license being suspended for 545 days.

Louisiana CDL & DWI

If you are stopped for DWI while driving a commercial motor vehicle and found to have a blood alcohol concentration of .04% or greater, you will be arrested for a DWI violation.  If you are found to have any amount of alcohol in your system less than the legal limit of .04%, the officer will issue you an "out-of-service" order and you will not be able to drive for 24-hours.

If you are found guilty of operating a CMV with a blood alcohol concentration of .04% or greater and this is your first offense, your CDL will be revoked for 1-year.  If you were hauling hazardous materials at the time, your CDL will be revoked for 3-years.

If you are arrested for a second offense DWI, your CDL will be revoked for life.

Louisiana DWI Under 21 Years of Age

If you are under the age of 21 and stopped and found to have a blood alcohol concentration of .02% or greater, your license will be suspended for 180 days for a first offense.  If this is a second or subsequent offense under the age of 21 your license will be suspended for 365 days.

If your blood alcohol level was .08% or greater you will also be facing the penalties a person over the age of 21 would face for the same offense.

Louisiana SR22 Requirements

Before the Louisiana DMV will reinstate your license following your suspension or revocation period or before issuing you a hardship or restricted license, they will require you to file an SR22 form with them before issuing you a new license. You will be required to carry yourSR22 insurance for a period of 3-years.

At anytime during this 3-year period if there is a lapse in your Louisiana SR22 coverage, your insurance provider is obligated by law to immediately inform the Louisiana DMV of the lapse.  If a lapse in coverage occurs, the Louisiana DMV will immediately suspend your license and you will be required to re-file an SR22 form with the DMV before they will issue you another license.

Since you are going to have to have your SR22 insurance for a period of 3-years, it is important to find the cheapest policy you can before choosing one.  DUI Process has partnered with the largest and most trusted SR22 insurance provider in the state of Louisiana and has worked out a special discount only available here for our website visitors.

You won't be able to find a SR22 insurance policy in Louisiana for any less. Type in your zip code below so we can provide you with the cheapest rates in your area.

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Other Louisiana DWI Resources

  • Louisiana First Offense DWI - First offense information including penalties, fines, potential jail time, license suspension, DWI classes, and much more.

  • Louisiana SR22 Insurance Filing - We have compiled everything you need to know about Louisiana's SR22 insurance and filing requirements including important addresses, phone numbers, etc.

  • Louisiana DWI Alcohol Assessment Programs - We offer a complete listing of state approved DWI alcohol assessment programs listed by County.

  • Louisiana Bail Bondsmen - Comprehensive list of Louisiana bail bond agents including address, phone, website, etc.