What recent changes have been made to our state’s DUI/DWI laws in Louisiana?1. In 2020, the Louisiana State Legislature passed an act that makes it a felony offense to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .20 or higher, or while visibly impaired.
2. Ignition Interlock Devices (IID) are now mandatory for anyone convicted of a second or subsequent DUI offense in Louisiana.
3. It is now illegal to drive with any amount of a Schedule I controlled substance in the driver’s system.
4. Louisiana has now adopted a “look-back” period of 10 years for prior DUI/DWI convictions. This means that any DUI/DWI convictions within the last 10 years can be used to enhance sentencing for an individual charged with a new DUI/DWI offense.
5. The legal limit for driving while impaired has been reduced from .08 BAC to .05 BAC for drivers 21 years or older.
6. Louisiana has passed an “open container” law which prohibits passengers from having open containers of alcoholic beverages in vehicles.
Have there been updates to the legal BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) limit in Louisiana?Yes, in Louisiana, the legal BAC limit has been lowered to .08%. This law went into effect on August 15, 2019.
How have penalties for first-time DUI offenders changed in recent years in Louisiana?In recent years, the penalties for first-time DUI offenders in Louisiana have become more stringent. In 2019, the state passed legislation that raised the legal limit for a blood alcohol content (BAC) from .08% to .15%. Offenders who are found to have a BAC of .15% or above will face harsher penalties which can include up to 6 months in jail, a $1000 fine, and/or suspension of their driver’s license. Additionally, in 2020, new legislation was passed that requires that first-time DUI offenders be monitored with an ignition interlock device for at least 6 months, and up to a year if the BAC was .15% or higher.
Are there new ignition interlock device (IID) requirements or policies in Louisiana?Yes, as of October 1, 2020, Louisiana has implemented a new statewide ignition interlock device (IID) law that requires first-time and multiple DWI offenders to install an IID in their vehicle. The law also requires an offender to maintain the device for at least one year after reinstatement of their license. Offenders are also responsible for all fees and costs associated with installing and maintaining the IID. There are additional restrictions and requirements for certain types of offenders, such as those with multiple DWI convictions or out-of-state violations.
Have there been changes to the process of DUI checkpoints and stops in Louisiana?Yes, there have been changes to the process of DUI checkpoints and stops in Louisiana. In 2017, the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that when police officers make DUI stops, they are now required to provide “reasonable suspicion” that the driver has committed a criminal offense in order to initiate the stop. The ruling clarified that police officers are only allowed to use checkpoints as a “general crime control measure” and cannot target drivers for DUI stops unless they have reasonable suspicion that the driver has broken the law. This ruling was seen as a positive development for motorists because it set a higher standard for police officers when it comes to initiating DUI stops.
What impact have recent legal changes had on DUI/DWI sentencing in Louisiana?In Louisiana, recent legal changes have had a significant impact on DUI/DWI sentencing. In 2019, Senate Bill 324 was passed, which increased the penalties for operating a vehicle while impaired with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or above. Specifically, the law increased the maximum jail time to six months for first-time offenders and doubled the maximum fines. Additionally, it also required first-time offenders to complete a court-approved substance abuse program. For second and subsequent offenses, the jail time was increased to one year and fines were increased to $2,000. Furthermore, Senate Bill 324 also dictated that third or subsequent offenses would result in a minimum of two years in jail with fines of up to $5,000. This law also imposed mandatory ignition interlock device installation for third and subsequent offenders as well as first-time offenders whose BAC was at least .15. Lastly, the law also provided for enhanced penalties for drivers with a BAC of .20 or above. As such, these changes to the DUI/DWI sentencing laws in Louisiana have had a significant impact on how these cases are handled and punished.
Are there new diversion or treatment programs for DUI offenders in Louisiana?Yes, there are new diversion and treatment programs for DUI offenders in Louisiana. The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections has developed a program called the DUI Compliance Program (DCP). The program offers offenders the opportunity to participate in a comprehensive treatment and education program, including alcohol and drug education classes, community service, and 24/7 sobriety monitoring. Participants in the program may also be required to attend an assessment for substance abuse treatment and to obtain an ignition interlock device on their vehicle. Additionally, some courts may offer alternative sentencing options such as service-based sentences, drug/alcohol classes, or home confinement.
Has the process for DUI/DWI testing or blood draws been modified in Louisiana?Yes, the process for DUI/DWI testing and blood draws has been modified in Louisiana due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The modifications include requiring an officer to wear protective equipment such as gloves and a face mask when administering tests, using sanitizing wipes on equipment after each use, and limiting the number of people allowed in the room during testing. Additionally, some police departments have increased their use of Breathalyzer tests instead of blood draws to reduce contact between officers and suspects.
Have recent changes affected the availability of plea bargains in DUI cases in Louisiana?No, recent changes have not affected the availability of plea bargains in DUI cases in Louisiana. State law still allows for negotiation between the prosecutor and defendant’s attorney to agree to a plea bargain, which can include reducing the charges or sentencing.
Are there specific changes in DUI laws for underage drivers in Louisiana?Yes, Louisiana has specific laws pertaining to underage drivers and DUI/DWI offenses. Under Louisiana law, any person under the age of 21 who is found to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .02% or higher is considered to be driving under the influence. This means that even a small amount of alcohol can lead to an arrest and potential conviction for DUI/DWI. Additionally, Louisiana has a “zero tolerance” policy when it comes to underage drivers and alcohol, meaning that it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase, possess, or consume alcohol. Those who are caught violating this law can face fines and jail time, in addition to other penalties.
Have there been updates to DUI laws regarding marijuana or other drugs in Louisiana?Yes, there have been updates to DUI laws regarding marijuana and other drugs in Louisiana. In June 2020, the Louisiana Legislature passed a law that makes it illegal for drivers to operate a motor vehicle if they have more than 5 nanograms of Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per milliliter in their blood – the active ingredient in marijuana – within two hours of operating the vehicle. This new law also states that a driver may be charged with a DWI if they are found to have any amount of an illegal drug in their system. The law also sets forth new penalties for drivers who are found guilty of driving under the influence of marijuana, including up to six months in prison and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Additionally, drivers arrested for DWI involving marijuana will be subject to chemical testing and other procedures as required by law.
What changes have been made to DUI penalties for commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders in Louisiana?In 2020, Louisiana enacted changes to its DUI penalties for CDL holders, increasing the penalties for a first-time DUI conviction. The changes include a mandatory minimum fine of $750, a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 10 days, and a minimum one-year loss of driving privileges. Additionally, a second or subsequent DUI conviction results in an automatic revocation of the CDL. The new penalties apply to any vehicle that requires a CDL to operate, regardless of whether or not it was being operated at the time of the offense.
Are there new reporting requirements for DUI/DWI convictions to other states in Louisiana?No, there are no new reporting requirements for DUI/DWI convictions in Louisiana. However, the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections (DPS) does maintain a central repository of all DUI/DWI convictions in the state. This information is used by law enforcement, courts, and other state agencies to monitor individuals convicted of DUI/DWI offenses.
How have recent changes impacted the use of body cameras or dashcams during DUI stops in Louisiana?Recent changes to DUI laws in Louisiana have expanded the use of body cameras or dashcams during DUI stops. Louisiana now requires police officers to record any interaction between law enforcement and a driver suspected of driving under the influence. This law requires all law enforcement agencies in the state to equip their officers with body cameras or dashcams, and requires all videos to be stored for at least 120 days. This provides more protection for both drivers and officers in the case of an incident. It also allows for better evidence collection in the event of a DUI conviction.
Have there been changes to DUI laws related to accidents causing injury or death in Louisiana?Yes, there have been changes to DUI laws related to accidents causing injury or death in Louisiana. In 2019, the Louisiana legislature passed a bill to create harsher penalties for those convicted of DUI causing serious injury or death. The new law will increase fines, jail time, and license suspension for those convicted of a DUI resulting in major injury or death. The law also increases the criminal charges for these offenses from a misdemeanor to a felony, meaning that those convicted may face up to 10 years in prison and up to $7,500 in fines.
Are there new policies or laws regarding DUI expungement or record sealing in Louisiana?No, there are no new policies or laws regarding DUI expungement or record sealing in Louisiana—the current laws have not changed. However, the Louisiana Legislature did pass a bill that makes it easier for certain offenders to get their records sealed after completing the terms of their sentence. This new law went into effect on August 1, 2020.
Have recent legal changes affected DUI insurance rates in Louisiana?Yes, recent changes in Louisiana law have affected DUI insurance rates in the state. In 2020, the state passed a law that increased the minimum liability insurance limits for drivers with a prior DUI conviction from $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident to $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident. This increase in coverage requirements has resulted in higher insurance rates for those with a prior DUI conviction.
What changes have been made to DUI/DWI court processes and procedures in Louisiana?In Louisiana, many changes have been made to DUI/DWI court processes and procedures. These changes include requiring all DWI offenders to submit to an Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment program or counseling, mandating the installation of Ignition Interlock devices on the vehicles of all offenders who have had at least two prior DWI convictions, and increasing the fines and jail sentences for repeat DWI offenders. Additionally, Louisiana has established a “No Refusal” period during certain holidays, such as New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day, in which law enforcement officers can obtain a warrant to take a blood sample from suspected intoxicated drivers if they refuse to take a breathalyzer test. Furthermore, Louisiana has implemented a “Zero Tolerance” policy which states that any driver under the age of 21 caught with any amount of alcohol in their system will automatically be charged with a DWI.
Are there additional resources or diversion programs for individuals with substance abuse issues in Louisiana?Yes, there are additional resources and diversion programs for individuals with substance abuse issues in Louisiana. These include:
• Louisiana Department of Health – Substance Abuse Resources and Services: This website provides a comprehensive list of treatment resources, including support organizations, therapy programs, and other forms of help.
• Louisiana Addictions Consortium: This organization offers training, education, advocacy, and technical assistance to help individuals and families affected by substance abuse.
• Louisiana State University – Addiction Studies Program: This university offers an accredited addiction studies degree program that helps individuals understand and address the issue of substance abuse.
• Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement – Drug Court Program: This program helps individuals avoid criminal conviction by participating in a supervised treatment program.
• Louisiana Office of Behavioral Health – Substance Abuse Treatment Services: This state agency provides information on the different types of substance abuse treatment services available in Louisiana.
• Recovery Centers of America: This organization offers an array of services to help individuals struggling with substance abuse, including residential treatment, group therapy, and aftercare planning.
• New Orleans Area Substance Abuse Services Network: This organization provides resources for individuals with substance abuse issues in the greater New Orleans area.