A DWI stop and arrest is a scary experience, but what you do during and after the arrest can greatly impact the possible punishment you suffer.
I often separate the DWI process into two concepts for my clients to understand. There is the criminal aspect and the administrative aspect. The criminal aspect involves the punishment you may suffer in a court of law before a judge or jury, and the administrative aspect involves the possible suspension of your driving privileges. If the investigating officer asks you to submit to a breathalyzer, a refusal to submit will result in a one-year suspension of your driver’s license. This suspension is handled by the Louisiana DMV and will not be resolved in a court of law. After the arrest, a person has 15 days to make written request for an administrative hearing in order to dispute certain aspects of the investigation. If you win the administrative hearing, your license will be reinstated shortly thereafter.
The criminal prosecution is separate, and will be handled by the district attorney and/or city prosecutor of the area in which you were arrested. Once the investigating officer’s report is final, he will submit the report to the prosecutor for review. If the prosecutor accepts the charges, formal prosecution will begin. This process involves an arraignment and trial (which are discussed in more detail elsewhere on my blog).
If you plead guilty or proceed to trial and are found guilty, your punishment will vary based on your history. I cannot give broad advice on what to expect, as this is dependent on the facts of your case. Please contact me to discuss this further. I can say that a first and second offense under Louisiana law are considered to be misdemeanors, and any subsequent arrest can be charged as a felony. Sentencing for a third offense DWI requires a full year in prison. To learn more, Louisiana’s criminal DWI law can be found at .
If you have any questions, please contact me today to schedule an appointment to discuss.