Louisiana joined other states by passing an all offender ignition interlock law in 2007. Since that time, the state has seen a 40% drop in drunk driving deaths, with 241 fatalities recorded and 5,614 alcohol-related crash injuries in 2012.
Louisiana doesn’t take driving while intoxicated (DWI) lightly. The penalties for a first DWI offense are:
- License suspended for up to 12 months or 24 months if your blood alcohol concentration was .20 or higher
- You’ll spend up to six months in jail
- Fines payable up to $1000 and possible additional court costs
- To receive a restricted or hardship license, you’ll be required to install an ignition interlock device for at least 12 months
- If your blood alcohol concentration is over .20, you’ll be required to install an ignition interlock device for up to two years
If you are found guilty of a second DWI conviction in Louisiana, the penalties are:
- Fines payable from $750 to $1000
- You’ll spend 30 days up to 6 months in jail
- Loss of license from 24 months up to 4 years if your blood alcohol concentration is .20 or higher
- You’ll be able to apply for a restricted license after 45 days and drive with an ignition interlock device installed for the entire time of your license suspension
For all penalties, the judge may also require community service and a possible court approved substance abuse program.
Underage drinkers aren’t exempt from DWI penalties in Louisiana. If you are under the age of 21 and are found to have a blood alcohol concentration of .02, you’ll be charged with DWI and be required to pay the price just like anyone over the age of 21.
Since increasing the legal drinking age from 18 to 21 in 1987, the state of Louisiana has been pushing toward stricter DWI laws. With the implementation of strict all offender ignition interlock laws, increased DWI penalties, and a step up of law enforcement, the state should see its DWI fatalities drop even more.