Baton Rouge DUI Lawyer

Approximately 1 million Americans are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs every year according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This statistic only represents the intoxicated drivers who were caught. Millions more Americans drive while intoxicated on an annual basis, and they may or may not get pulled over by law enforcement. The CDC estimates that in 2020 alone, 18.5 million Americans drove under the influence of alcohol, while 11.7 million drove under the influence of marijuana. Not only can driving drunk or high result in jail time, expensive fines, and license suspension, it can also lead to catastrophic injury or even wrongful death.

If you are facing DUI charges in Louisiana, you have the right to hire legal counsel to defend you. An experienced DWI attorney at the Law Offices of Ossie Brown can protect your legal rights and work out a plea deal so that you can get back to your normal life. Call a Baton Rouge DUI lawyer at 225-343-1111 to schedule a free consultation today.

baton rouge dui lawyer

What is a DUI or DWI?

A DUI means “driving under the influence” while a DWI stands for “driving while intoxicated.” Both acronyms are interchangeable and mean the same thing.

Louisiana’s DUI law (RS 14:98) states that driving a car, truck, boat, motorcycle, or any other motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of more than 0.08% is illegal, and can result in a DWI charge.

Can I Get a DUI For Driving High in Louisiana?

Yes, you can still get a DUI if you are caught driving high on marijuana or controlled substances in Louisiana. A drug-related DWI case can be more complex because law enforcement can’t determine intoxication level through blood alcohol concentration. Instead, a police officer will have to determine impairment levels through things like poor driving, red or bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, poor balance, etc. Still, a marijuana DUI case can result in major penalties, such as prison time, hefty fines, and even driver’s license suspension.

How Drugs and Alcohol Affect Someone’s Driving Ability

Drugs and alcohol produce similar physical and mental effects, especially on the roads. Most intoxicated drivers experience the following issues:

  • Blurred vision
  • Poor balance and coordination
  • Slow reflexes
  • Poor judgment and decision making
  • General sleepiness

All of these intoxication symptoms can lead to car accidents, catastrophic injuries, and even wrongful death. DWI charges and convictions are meant to keep as many intoxicated drivers off the roads as possible.

dwi lawyer

DUI Penalties in Louisiana

Louisiana may be known for being a “party state,” but that doesn’t mean law enforcement is lenient on DWI laws or enforcement. If you’re convicted of a DWI offense, you could face a wide variety of penalties. The penalties gradually get more severe, especially if you have prior DWI convictions in Louisiana. That’s why it’s so important to hire a Baton Rouge DWI lawyer at the Law Offices of Ossie Brown. We can’t promise that you won’t be penalized for your DWI charge, but we can promise you that we’ll fight for a favorable outcome.

The first offense is considered a misdemeanor. Even for the first offense, you should consult a DWI attorney. Upon conviction, you could face the following:

  • Probation up to two years.
  • 10 days to 6 months jail time
  • A fine of $300 to $1,000
  • 48 hours in jail or 32 hours of community service
  • Participation in a court-approved substance abuse program and a court-approved driver improvement program.

The second offense is also a misdemeanor, but the penalties increase substantially.

  • A fine ranging from $750 to $1,000
  • 30 days to 6 months jail time
  • 240 hours of community service
  • Up to 6 months probation and 48 hours spent in jail
  • Participation in a court-approved substance abuse program and a court-approved driver improvement program.
  • Some judges order you to have an ignition interlock device, in order to continue your driving privileges. This device measures your breath to see how much alcohol may be in your system before you are allowed to drive your car.

While first and second offense DWIs are both considered misdemeanors, a third offense is a felony. Because of this, the penalties are much more severe than the first two offenses.

  • You could face a fine of $2,000
  • One to five years imprisonment
  • 240 hours of community service
  • Up to 5 years of probation. One year must be spent in jail, along with community service and re-education programs
  • Substance abuse evaluation and substance abuse treatment
  • The prosecutor may seize the offender’s vehicle
  • Some judges order you to have an ignition interlock device
  • Probation for the full length of any suspended sentence plus home incarceration for a minimum of 6 months.

For fourth offense DWIs and any additional offense, the penalties remain severe and are deemed felonies. And, those offenses carry the most serious punishments. They include:

  • Fine up to $5,000
  • Minimum jail time of 10 years and a maximum of 30 years. Two of these years are without the benefit of suspension
  • Probation up to 5 years
  • 320 hours of community service
  • Home incarceration for at least one year
  • Seizure of the vehicle
  • Requirement to undergo a substance abuse evaluation
  • An order to comply with substance abuse treatment for four weeks inpatient and 12 months outpatient.

When Should I Hire a Lawyer for a DUI Charge?

On occasion, DUI cases are handled without legal representation. However, because DWI cases can be severe – especially with previous convictions – you should definitely hire a Baton Rouge DUI lawyer. Our legal team is skilled and experienced enough to potentially get your charges or sentencing reduced and, possibly, even have your case dismissed.

You should consider hiring a DUI attorney when:

  • This is not your first DUI arrest.
  • Someone is injured or killed as a result of your DUI.
  • You believe that you are not guilty.
  • You think you can reduce your charges from DUI to reckless driving.
  • You’re a commercial driver, truck driver, delivery person, bus driver, or another type of professional driver.
  • You want your legal rights protected through any and all criminal proceedings.

Possible DUI Defenses

Law enforcement agencies throughout Louisiana are working hard to eradicate intoxicated and impaired drivers. The penalties for having a few drinks before driving are quite steep, even in a “party state” like Louisiana. While facing DWI charges, it is highly recommended to contact the DWI lawyers at The Law Offices of Ossie Brown for legal assistance.

After a DWI arrest, you can plead guilty in exchange for less harsh penalties or even try to defend yourself against the charges. In some cases, a Baton Rouge DUI lawyer at our law office can help get the charges against you dropped, while in other situations, your case may go through the court system where a district attorney proves your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and issues your penalties.

Listed below are a few defenses that our attorneys could use in your DUI case.

  • Inadequate Officer Training: If law enforcement personnel were not properly trained in field sobriety tests or the use of a breath test, then you can contest that the evidence they collected is not strong enough to prove your guilt.
  • No Reasonable Suspicion to Stop: If a police officer had no reasonable suspicion to pull you over, you could potentially get your DUI charges dropped.
  • You Were Not Driving: Operating the vehicle is an essential element of a drunk driving conviction. For example, let’s say you and a friend are heading home from a night at the bar. The friend – who is more intoxicated than you – insists on driving, and you both are pulled over. The police officer arrests both of you for drunk driving, even if you weren’t the one behind the wheel. In situations like this, an experienced DWI attorney at our law office could potentially get your charges dropped.
  • Breathalyzer Problems: Breath tests are not always accurate. Many things can impact a breathalyzer test including medical conditions or even the use of certain types of medications or mouthwash. You can question breathalyzer evidence with the help of our DWI lawyers.
  • The Rising BAC Defense: Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) will continue to rise even after you have stopped drinking. Let’s say you began driving before your BAC reached or exceeded the legal limit. You felt comfortable enough to get behind the wheel because you didn’t feel tipsy or drunk. By the time you got pulled over and submitted to a breathalyzer test – maybe 30 to 45 minutes later – your BAC exceeded the legal limit, and you definitely felt somewhat intoxicated. In situations like this, a DUI attorney could argue that you were not intoxicated before you started driving. Therefore, you didn’t pose a threat to public safety.

Can You Expunge a DUI Charge From Your Record in Louisiana?

When a conviction is expunged, that means it is removed from your criminal record. According to Louisiana law, a DUI arrest cannot be expunged for a minimum of 5 years. Successfully expunging a DUI conviction from your record depends on whether it was a misdemeanor or a felony.

In order to successfully expunge a misdemeanor DWI charge from your record, you must wait at least 5 years since you have completed your sentence, parole, or probation. It’s very difficult to expunge any type of felony conviction from your record in Louisiana. You may be able to successfully expunge a felony DWI charge from your record only if the judge dismissed the charge OR you have waited at least 10 years since you have completed your sentence, parole, or probation. You also can’t be facing any other criminal charges.

Article 894 Plea

It is possible to have a DUI conviction dismissed and to keep your record intact. To pursue this course of action, the state of Louisiana requires that your DUI lawyer motions for the conviction to be dismissed and set aside under the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 894. The Article 894 plea is typically only available to those with a clean driving record and a clean criminal record before the DUI arrest. This provision can allow you to get the conviction temporarily suspended. Following the suspension, you will be placed on probation, which will be determined by the judge in criminal court. After two years, a petition can be filed to have the DUI conviction officially dismissed and treated as an acquittal. This plea is generally only available to an individual every 10 years.

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Call a Baton Rouge DUI Lawyer at The Law Offices of Ossie Brown Today

Even if you’re facing your first ever DUI case, it’s still a serious matter that can taint your criminal record for at least the next decade. That’s why you need experienced DUI lawyers from the Law Offices of Ossie Brown to defend and protect you. We are very familiar with the legal system, especially regarding DUIs, and we have the necessary skill to get you a favorable outcome. Our legal team also has decades of combined experience in handling other criminal cases, such as violent crimes, sex crimes, white collar crimes, theft crimes, and so much more. Call a Baton Rouge criminal defense attorney at 225-343-1111 to schedule a free consultation with us today.

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