Representing Clients in Baton Rouge & throughout Southern Louisiana
If you have been arrested for DUI/DWI in Southern Louisiana, it is extremely important that you speak with a knowledgeable Baton Rouge DWI defense lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest. It is a criminal offense under Louisiana State law to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or another controlled substance. DUI/DWI charges entail serious negative consequences and may be punishable by imprisonment, driver's license suspensions, probation, and many days of community service, amongst other penalties.
Arrested for DWI? Contact The Ambeau Law Firm for a free, confidential consultation and case evaluation.
Can You Refuse a Breath Test in Louisiana?
DWI, or driving while intoxicated, is a serious crime in Louisiana. DWI and DUI (driving under the influence) are similar—while DWI usually refers to alcohol, DUI can include other substances.
If you have been stopped for DWI in Louisiana, there are some important things to know. As part of obtaining your driver's license, you agree to submit to blood, breath, or urine testing if requested by a police officer. If you refuse to take the test, it becomes admissible in court as consciousness of guilt and carries an additional punishment. Refusal to submit to a chemical test will result in an automatic driver's license suspension for six months (or longer if you have previously refused to submit to a test).
If you have been charged with DWI, it is important to hire a Baton Rouge DWI attorney as quickly as possible. Time is of the essence because, in Louisiana, you have only 15 days to request a hearing from the Department of Public Safety and Corrections. Failure to request a hearing will result in the suspension of your driver's license. The hearing is separate from criminal charges, which will be handled in a court of law. Your attorney can request a hearing and can represent you to try to keep your license from being suspended.
In Louisiana there are two separate procedures that result from an arrest for DWI:
- The administrative procedure of the Louisiana Department of Motor Vehicles, where the State will attempt to take away your driver's license for a minimum of one year on your first offense; and
- The criminal proceeding brought by the District Attorney whereby the State will attempt to put you in jail for up to six months on your first offense.
Each of these proceedings results from a refusal to blow or a BAC above .08 percent.
Louisiana laws offer a safe harbor for people who have certain blood alcohol levels. If your blood alcohol level is below .05, you will be presumed to NOT be driving under the influence of alcohol. When the blood alcohol level is between .05 and .08, there is no presumption about impairment. If the blood alcohol level is .08 or above, it is presumed that the person is impaired.
These laws apply to drivers over the age of 21. The blood alcohol limit for those under the age of 21 is .02 percent.
When Do You Need a DWI Defense Lawyer in Baton Rouge?
Hiring an experienced Baton Rouge DWI lawyer can have a big impact on your case, particularly if your recent arrest was for a second or third DWI offense. DUI cases represent a specialized area of law and require extensive knowledge as to how to handle a DUI case to get the results their clients need.
After the date of your arrest for DUI, you have only 15 days to request a hearing from the Department of Public Safety and Corrections to avoid or reduce the suspension of your driver's license. This kind of hearing is not automatic; therefore, you must request a hearing from the court in the city or parish where you were issued a citation.
If you are interested in hiring a lawyer to help address your license suspension, then you have to act quickly in finding one after the date of your arrest.
You may wish to meet with a couple of DUI lawyers before hiring one. An experienced lawyer will not be surprised to hear that you are interviewing a few lawyers before making a decision on hiring. In most instances, you will not be charged for a first-time meeting while you are trying to find the right attorney. Having a face-to-face meeting with a Baton Rouge DWI lawyer is a good way for you to see if you feel comfortable with a particular person and also helps the lawyer to start assessing the unique aspects of your case. In addition, these early discussions with a DUI attorney will give you a better idea of what to expect when your case goes to court.
The attorneys of The Ambeau Law Firm know the court system and how to best represent your individual case. DUI law is complex and changes often; a qualified Baton Rouge DUI attorney keeps up with the changing laws and will be able to listen to the details of your case and determine the best legal defense to minimize the costs and penalties associated with your DWI arrest. While no attorney can promise your DUI charge will go away, in many cases it is possible for a DWI lawyer to successfully get a charge dismissed or reduced.
It is possible for DUI/DWI charges in Louisiana to be reduced because the severity of penalties varies from case to case. One of the main issues that a judge considers when deciding on what penalties to hand down is whether you have any prior DUI offenses.
If you are a first-time DUI offender, you may face time in jail, the payment of fines and a license suspension. However, if you have been convicted of prior DUI offenses, your punishment could be more severe (i.e. more time in jail, higher fines, longer license suspension or permanent revocation of driving privileges). The best thing you can do to increase your chances of success when fighting your DUI/DWI charges is to contact an experienced Baton Rouge DWI lawyer soon after your arrest.
Defending DWI/DUI in Baton Rouge & the Surrounding Areas
If you have been charged with DWI, the first and most important step is to seek the help of an experienced DWI attorney. A lawyer will represent you in the first hearing and throughout your case, including trial. Hiring a DWI attorney can help you keep your license, reduce your charges, lower your bail, and reduce the penalties if you are found guilty.
The outcome of your DWI case hinges critically on who you choose to defend your legal rights. The United States Constitution guarantees you the right to select the legal counsel of your choice to defend your rights in criminal proceedings brought against you by the government. It is extremely important that you find an attorney who suits your needs and understands how to communicate with you. In selecting a DWI defense attorney in Baton Rouge to represent you, you should evaluate several candidate attorneys and request information about each individual attorney's qualifications and experience in handling matters of this nature.
We represent clients in Baton Rouge, Gonzales, Prairieville, Livingston Parish, Ascension Parish, and West Baton Rouge Parish.