DUI Law in New Orleans, LA
What Is a DUI?
DUI, which refers to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, is a criminal offense that can lead to weighty consequences. Also known as DWI, the process of going to court to face either conviction or exoneration can change the course of your life forever.
Learn more about your DUI law defense options below, and then talk to a local attorney in New Orleans, Louisiana who will help you in this delicate situation. You don’t have to stare down consequences alone. You can take wise steps today to protect your interests.
Possible Consequences of a New Orleans, Louisiana DUI Conviction
Where you live, the severity of the incident, and your criminal record determine the sentencing for a DUI. The punishments can drastically increase if you have had previous DUIs, so be mindful of that. If this is your first DUI, do not go at it alone and risk costly mistakes. Get a New Orleans law firm on your side to fight for you and your rights.
If convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in New Orleans, Louisiana, you can count on fines being a part of your sentencing. A DUI conviction in New Orleans can cost you anywhere from $300 to $5,000.
However, other factors can drastically increase the amount you must pay, including:
- Any damage to property while driving under the influence
- If someone suffered injuries as a result of your intoxicated driving
- Cases that include child endangerment
- Any court costs associated with your case
Jail time is mandatory, even for first-time offenders in New Orleans. If this is your first DUI offense, you may only have to face a day or two in prison. But if you have previous convictions for DUIs, you can be sentenced to several months or years, depending on the nature of the crime. Know that some circumstances can add even more time in a cell, including injury to other people while driving under the influence.
If you do not face jail time, you will likely be on probation, with the sentencing judge determining the duration. You will pay monthly fees, and you cannot commit any more criminal offenses, including traffic violations. If you violate the terms of your probation, count on facing time behind bars.
During your time on parole, you may have to visit a probation office run by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections. Regular meetings with an officer, paying restitution fees, and serving community service hours might be only the start. Failure to follow the smallest of assigned responsibilities can lead to your immediate arrest and more jail time.
Drug and Alcohol Education Program
Following a New Orleans DUI sentencing, the law states you must complete a drug and alcohol education program. This will teach you about the dangers of driving under the influence. These programs cost more fees besides the legal costs you already have to pay.
A judge might require you to take a class or attend a victim impact panel. The Greater New Orleans Area Behavioral Health Services may point you in the right direction if you feel lost. Beyond the classes and paying for them, a judge can include one or more of the following in their sentencing:
- Restitution payments
- Payment of outstanding court fees
- Installation of an ignition interlock device
The education programs also include a DUI evaluation. An evaluator asks you questions about how alcohol and drugs affect your life. If they believe that you are dependent, you may have to enter a substance abuse treatment program.
Suspension or Loss of License
No matter where you may face a DUI conviction, you have to undergo a license suspension period, at the very least. If it is your first DUI, you may have a license suspension for a few months while you go through probation and the drug and alcohol education program.
If this is not your first DUI, you may have your license suspended for much longer, or you could have it taken from you permanently.
What Should You Do When Charged With a DUI in New Orleans, Louisiana?
If you’re facing a felony DUI charge, you must take the following steps to protect yourself:
Step 1: Contact an Attorney Familiar With New Orleans, Louisiana DUI Law
Immediately following your DUI arrest, you need to contact an experienced New Orleans DUI attorney. Your attorney can help prepare for your arraignment and prepare a defense to vindicate yourself or reduce the sentencing.
Step 2: Learn About Your Local DUI Laws
New Orleans, Louisiana has unique laws for DUI or DWI charges. Your lawyer will work with you to help you better understand your state’s laws on driving while intoxicated. It is critical to understand what charges you face and the potential outcomes of your case.
Step 3: Request a DMV Hearing
You or your attorney should request a hearing as soon as possible following your arrest. In New Orleans, Louisiana you only have so much time to ask for a DMV hearing to keep your license until your court appearance. If you do not request a hearing, prepare for a license suspension.
The law passed by the Louisiana State Legislature says that you have 30 days after your arrest for DUI or DWI to challenge the license suspension. The hearing may happen at an Office of Motor Vehicles in New Orleans, or another location like a county courthouse. Either way, you should consider bringing a lawyer to the proceedings to protect your rights.
Step 4: Prepare for Court Appearance
You and your attorney will prepare for your appearance and arraignment in New Orleans. If you plead “not guilty,” your DUI defense attorney represents you in court, and a judge and jury oversee the DUI law case.
Step 5: Receive Sentencing or Exoneration
You will either be “not guilty” of the charges brought against you and walk free, or you will receive sentencing for a guilty verdict.
Work with an Experienced Local DUI Lawyer in New Orleans, Louisiana
Should you ever find yourself charged with a DUI, you need to work with an experienced New Orleans, LA lawyer who can stand up for you in court. You cannot clear your name of the charges or reduce the consequences without help. Your life and future depend on having great legal representation during your DUI case. Contact an attorney near you today. We can even help you connect with legal help across Louisiana state lines.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!