Driving while intoxicated is a misdemeanor for the first two offenses and a felony for any beyond the first two in Louisiana. The potential consequences and long-term impact of a DWI conviction are serious, enough so that a Louisiana man absconded with an electric shopping cart and used it as transportation between bars to avoid one.
However, while many people understand that DWI is a crime, there tend to be many questions about it, some more common than others.
1. How long does a DWI stay on a driving record?
A DWI on a driving record may affect insurance payments and employment opportunities. It makes sense then that many individuals would worry about the length of time this conviction stays on a record. In Louisiana, at least 10 years must pass before the removal of a DWI.
2. Do individuals have the right to refuse a breath test?
The arrest of an individual on the suspicion of DWI creates implied consent. The arrested individual assents to a breath test without saying anything, and refusal carries a penalty (driver’s license suspension). However, breath test results may also count as evidence against the accused in court.
3. What is the blood alcohol content limit?
The state’s blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is 0.08%. However, the state also has a zero-tolerance policy. This means any person under 21 caught with a BAC greater than 0.02% is over the legal limit. Commercial vehicle operators (including school bus drivers) have a limit of 0.04%. There also exists a more severe penalty for those whose BAC exceeds 0.15%.
While the law has the potential to be complex, there are defense options available to individuals charged with DWI to fight against or minimize charges.