Louisiana Drunk Driving Laws

When is a Driver Considered to be Legally Drunk in Louisiana?

  • Non-commercial drivers age 21+ are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .08 or more.
  • Drivers of commercial vehicles are legally drunk when their blood alcohol concentration is .04 percent or greater. Under Louisiana law, school bus drivers are commercial drivers.
  • Drivers under 21 are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .02 or greater.

Penalties for Drunk Driving in Louisiana

  • First-time offenders face a term of imprisonment ranging from 10 days to six months and are subject to pay a fine of $300 to $1,000. The driver’s license suspension period is 90 days. If, however, the offender had a BAC of .20 or more, the fine increases to $700 to $1,000, and the driver’s license suspension period is increased to two years.
  • A person who commits a second offense within 10 years of the first conviction faces a prison term of 30 days to six months and is subject to pay a fine of $750 to $1,000. The driver’s license suspension period is 12 months. Additionally, any vehicle operated by the offender must be equipped with an ignition interlock device for not less than six months. The device must remain installed and operative during any suspension period and for any additional period as determined by a judge. If a second-time offender had a BAC of .20 or more, the fine increases to $1,000, and the driver’s license suspension period is increased to four years. For a conviction of a second offense when the first offense resulted in the death or injury of another, the offender will be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for one to five years. Under those circumstances, the fine increases to $2,000.
  • A person who commits a third offense within a 10-year period faces a term of imprisonment, which may or may not include hard labor, for one to five years. The fine is $2,000, and the driver’s license suspension period is 24 months. The vehicle that was owned and driven by the offender at the time of the offense will be seized, impounded, and sold at auction. The driver’s license suspension period is 24 months.
  • A person who commits a fourth or subsequent offense within a 10-year period faces a term of imprisonment, with or without hard labor, for 10 to 30 years. The fine is $5,000, and the driver’s license suspension period is 24 months. The vehicle that was owned and driven by the offender at the time of the offense will be seized, impounded, and sold at auction.

Ignition Interlock

DUI offenders may apply for a restricted driver’s license following the expiration of a certain portion of the driver’s license revocation period, which time period is determined by the circumstances of the conviction. If the request is granted, the offender will be required to use an ignition interlock system for a time period that will also be determined by the circumstances surrounding the conviction.

Louisiana’s Child Endangerment Law

First, second, and third-time offenders who commit DUI while a passenger age 12 or under is in the vehicle must serve the mandatory minimum prison sentence without the possibility of the sentence being suspended. Fourth-time offenders who commit a DUI while a passenger under 12 is in the vehicle must serve at least two years in prison, without the benefit of a suspended sentence.

Commercial Drivers

In addition to other penalties associated with Louisiana’s DUI laws, a commercial driver who is convicted of DUI for the first time while operating a commercial vehicle will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for at least one year. If, however, the offender was driving a commercial vehicle and transporting hazardous materials at the time, the disqualification period is at least three years. If a commercial driver commits a second DUI while driving a commercial vehicle, the offender will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for life, which may or may not be reduced to 10 years. Depending on the class of commercial license the offender holds, he or she may be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle even if the DUI occurred while driving a non-commercial vehicle.

Drivers Under 21

If a person under 21 drives with a BAC of .08 or greater, the offender may be charged and penalized as an adult. Additionally, a first-time underage offender who drives with a BAC of .08 or greater will receive a 180-day driver’s license suspension. If the underage driver drove with a BAC of .02, but less than .08, the offender will be charged and penalized under Louisiana’s underage driving under the influence law. Under this statute, first-time offenders are subject to pay a fine of $100 to $250. They must also participate in a court-approved substance abuse and driver improvement program. For a second or subsequent offense, an underage driver faces 10 days to three months in prison. The offender will also be fined between $150 and $500.

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What is Louisiana’s Anti-Dram Shop Liability Law?

Under this law, drinking establishments and social hosts who serve alcohol to persons over 21 are not liable for injuries caused by intoxication.

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Criminal Penalties for Prohibited Sales of Alcohol

Under Louisiana law, it is a crime for a drinking establishment to sell or serve alcohol to any person under 21 or to any intoxicated person. A violation of this law subjects the offender to a prison term of 30 days to six months, as well as a fine of $100 to $500. Additionally, the bar’s license could be suspended or revoked.

Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.

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Note: Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia. This information is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia, although if you are injured in an accident, we have relationships with other personal injury attorneys and lawyers throughout the United States.

Please note: All of our lawyers are licensed to practice in the state of Pennsylvania. We also have lawyers licensed to practice in Ohio, and West Virginia and we associate with experienced attorneys in other states.

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