Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over This August

August 10th, 2020

The summer months through Labor Day are among those with the most car accidents attributed to drunk or “buzzed” driving. Law enforcement is well aware of this trend, which is why local police departments and highway patrol will be making extra effort to catch drivers who may be driving under the influence of alcohol.

Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death in the U.S. In 2018, someone was hurt in a car crash nearly every 7 seconds, and someone was killed in a crash nearly every 14 minutes. That same year, Louisiana ranked ninth in the nation for most drunk driving deaths.

If you are planning on driving after drinking any amount of alcohol, it is important to keep in mind how drinking can increase your risk of a costly ticket, jail time, and serious injury. Too many people acknowledge that drunk driving is dangerous but do so anyway, and it only takes one mistake to ruin your life, or end someone else’s.

How Your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Affects Your Driving Ability

It is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.08% or higher in all 50 states.

According to one survey, a staggering 31% of people age 18-34 said that they believe some people are “good” at driving when drunk. However, studies show that in actuality, drivers with a BAC of 0.08% are four times more likely to crash than drivers with a BAC of 0.00%. For many people, a BAC of 0.08%, which is considered legally intoxicated, may be as few as two drinks.

In fact, any amount of alcohol you consume will affect your driving ability, and you may be too impaired to safely drive even before you feel buzzed.

  • When your BAC is 0.02%, you’ll have a harder time tracking moving objects (such as other vehicles and pedestrians) and experience difficulty performing two tasks at once.
  • When your BAC is 0.05%, you’ll suffer reduced coordination and have slower response times to emergency driving situations.
  • When your BAC is 0.08%, you won’t be able to accurately judge how fast you are driving, may not notice traffic signals or street signs, and will easily lose your concentration.
  • When your BAC is 0.10%, you’ll have trouble keeping your vehicle in one lane, and may have trouble braking appropriately.
  • When your BAC is 0.15%, you’ll have substantial trouble controlling your vehicle, and may not even be aware of everything you are looking at or hearing.

If a police officer believes you are “noticeably impaired,” you can still be charged with an OWI even if your BAC is below 0.08%, as long as it is above 0.00%.

What is the Penalty for an OWI in Louisiana?

After being convicted of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) in Louisiana, if it’s the first offense, the driver will face:

  • $300-$1,000 fine ($750-$1,000 if BAC is 0.20% or more)
  • 10 days to 6 months in jail
  • 12 months suspension of their driver’s license (24 months if BAC is 0.20% or more) with the possibility of receiving a restricted hardship license with the installation of an ignition interlock device on their vehicle
  • Possibility of 32 hours of community service
  • Possibility of court-ordered substance abuse and driver improvement programs

For a second offense, drivers will face:

  • $750-$1,000 fine
  • 30 days to 6 months in jail
  • 24 months suspension of their driver’s license (48 months if BAC is 0.20% or more) with the possibility of receiving a restricted hardship license with the installation of an ignition interlock device on their vehicle after 45 days
  • Possibility of 240 hours of community service
  • Possibility of court-ordered substance abuse and driver improvement programs

For a third offense, drivers will be charged with a felony, and will face:

  • $2,000 fine
  • 1-5 years in jail
  • 36 months suspension of their driver’s license with the possibility of receiving a restricted hardship license with the installation of an ignition interlock device on their vehicle after 45 days
  • Enrollment in a substance abuse program
  • Possibility of the seizure and sale of their vehicle

Have You Been Injured in an Accident with a Drunk Driver?

If you or someone you love was seriously injured or killed in a crash with a drunk driver, you can’t get the compensation you need to pay your medical expenses and lost wages through the criminal conviction of the drunk driver.

However, with the help of an experienced auto accident lawyer in Louisiana, you may be able to recover what you need to cover your accident-related expenses, and compensate your pain and suffering, through a personal injury lawsuit.

Our team is always available to listen. Call our firm 24/7 to request a free consultation with a lawyer at our firm after injuries caused by a drunk driver, and we guarantee that if we don’t win your case, you pay us nothing.