One of most common arrests is driving under the influence, also called “D.W.I.” The first and second offenses for D.W.I. charges are misdemeanor offenses. A misdemeanor is considered a “petty” offense. However, even though it is a misdemeanor, if the accused’s “blood alcohol concentration” (BAC) exceeds a certain amount, the law requires a mandatory jail sentence.
The third and subsequent D.W.I. offenses are felony crimes. Again, should the accused’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeds a certain amount, the law requires a mandatory jail sentence. For felony convictions for a third or subsequent conviction, the law provides for a mandatory minimum prison term. This means judges do not have the discretion or ability to render a sentence that is less than the mandatory minimum sentence.
In addition to a possible jail term, most D.W.I. convictions include the payment of fines, fees, court cost, probation supervision fees, driver improvement classes, drunk driving educations classes, M.A.D.D. classes, hours of community service and fees to restore driver’s license privileges. Often, the attendance of these mandatory classes, community service and reporting to a probation officer cause problems with your work or school schedule. Regarding employment, it could lead to termination, reduction in pay, being passed over for a promotion, missed opportunity for a raise, negative performance reviews or termination. For educational problems, it could lead to missed classes, tests and poor grades.
D.W.I. arrests and convictions have consequences other than fines and jail. For example, when arrested for a D.W.I., the accused’s driving license will be suspended if he does not make a written request for an administrative hearing. This administrative hearing is completely separate from the D.W.I. charges pending in criminal court. Regarding the administrative hearing, the government created laws that work against the accused. These laws make it easy for the State of Louisiana to revoke or suspend your driver’s license.
Also, automobile insurance companies may use a D.W.I. conviction as a reason to increase insurance premiums. The insurance industry will consider the accused to be a “high risk” and raise the insurance rates dramatically. This rate increase can last for many years or, possibly, for the remainder of the accused’s life.
In some situations, the State of Louisiana or the courts may require you to install an expensive ignition interlock device in your automobile. This device detects alcohol in your breath. It will not allow you to start the car or continue to drive it if the breath is not alcohol free.
Additionally, the accused may fail background checks performed by potential employers, the insurance company for the employers, regulatory agencies, college admissions, student loans, scholarships/ financial assistance, housing applications and rental companies (cars and landlords.). A D.W.I. arrest or conviction could affect current employment.
Another problem associated with being arrested is local news media outlets may publicize your arrest. Sadly, there are many bloggers who acquire arrest mugshots, biographical information and arrest information to post it in cyberspace. These shameless opportunists use an arrest to humiliate people. Then, they take advantage of an arrest by charging people to have their names and mugshots removed.