Operating while intoxicated (OWI), more commonly known as DUI, is a very serious charge and the consequences can haunt you for many years or the rest of your life, depending on how you handle your defense and if you can avoid subsequent convictions. A first offense carries jail time of 10 days to six months, but if your BAC was less than .15, there is a rigorous program you can choose as an alternative to jail time, and the court also has the option of sentencing you to home incarceration if you qualify. Never assume that you will be convicted of OWI. Talk to an experienced DUI attorney right away to learn more about your rights and how it may be possible to have your case dismissed entirely.
Avoiding Jail on First DUI Conviction
Although a DUI first offense, in Louisiana, carries a jail sentence of 10 days to six months, you can avoid most or all of that jail time by going on probation and meeting certain conditions:
- Serve 48 hours in jail or complete 32 hours of court-approved community service, half of which must be spent picking up litter
- Complete a court-approved substance abuse program
- Complete a court-approved driver improvement program
- You may or may not be required to use an interlock device when driving during your probation period
Now, if your BAC was .15 or higher, you must serve at least 48 hors in jail, even if it is your first offense. This 48-hour sentence is in addition to any other sentence you may receive.
Understand that if you choose this alternative to your jail sentence, you must complete the program. It is very time-consuming and there are costs involved.
A Louisiana DUI Charge is Not Hopeless, Even if You Failed the Breath Test
Although you have a good chance of avoiding jail time for your first DUI, jail time is really the least of your worries. A DUI on your record can have damaging effects that ripple through all aspects of your life and follow you for years. You are much better off if you can beat the charge altogether.
Never assume that your DUI case is going to result in conviction, even if you failed the breath or blood test. Experienced DUI attorneys have many ways to defend against DUI charges, including challenging the validity of the stop and whether proper procedures were followed with testing.