New Orleans DWI Lawyer
A drunk driving arrest can leave you feeling hopeless, but I can reassure you that I will fight to get you the best possible outcome. Don’t give up and assume there is nothing you can do. A DWI conviction could cost you a lot: fines, potential jail time, huge increases in your car insurance rates, suspension of your driver’s license, or even your job if you have a professional license or work in certain industries. But if we fight, it could cost you a lot less.
We have extensive experience helping clients in both criminal DWI/DUI accident cases and driver’s license suspension hearings. With my 30 years of experience as a criminal trial lawyer, I have dedicated my life to defending people in the New Orleans metro area who face the serious – often harsh – consequences of a DWI arrest. Whether you are a college student, a public official, a tourist or a resident of Louisiana, no one deserves a life altering court sentence for making a single mistake. I understand that and I will work hard to protect your rights and get you results.
“I believe that your case is different and you deserve my special attention.” – Attorney Robert S. Toale
Call our New Orleans DWI lawyer now at 504-370-9233 or email my law firm for an initial consultation about your Louisiana DWI/DUI case.
Prevent A DWI Driver’s License Suspension In Louisiana
When you are arrested for a DWI in Louisiana, you only have 30 days to act before your driver’s license is automatically suspended. La. R.S. 32:667A(2). I will help you request an administrative hearing so you can keep your driving privileges until the criminal DWI proceedings.
Without a hearing, the amount of time that your license could be suspended depends on your blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of the arrest. The higher you are over the BAC limit, the longer your license could be suspended.
The Changing Louisiana DWI Laws
The DWI laws always seem to be changing in Louisiana, but I am always familiar with the latest versions. The penalties for DWI seem to be increasing with every change to the law, so it is important to find an experienced attorney who can beat the charge or at least minimize the impact of a DWI conviction.
Louisiana DWI/DUI FAQs
Being arrested or charged for driving while intoxicated (DWI) can be jarring and downright terrifying. You are likely to be unsure of what happens next, what consequences you may face, and what you should do next. To help you understand DWI in Louisiana, we have compiled some of the most frequently asked questions we hear from clients. You can find the answers to these questions below. Reach out to dedicated New Orleans criminal defense attorney Robert S. Toale if you have been arrested or charged with DWI in New Orleans, Gretna, or Jefferson Parish, or if you have any additional questions.
What is the difference between DWI and DUI?
In other states, DWIs–driving while intoxicated– are generally given to people suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol. Individuals who are suspected of driving under the influence of other drugs such as marijuana and/or alcohol are charged with DUI–driving under the influence. In Louisiana, there is only one crime, typically referred to as DWI or OWI (operating while intoxicated/impaired/under the influence), which includes driving under the influence of any mind-altering substance.
What is the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit in Louisiana?
In the State of Louisiana, you can be charged with DWI if you have a BAC of 0.08 or higher. The 0.08 BAC limit is not the minimum: You can still be arrested and convicted of DWI with a BAC lower than 0.08 if the police and prosecution otherwise establish that you were intoxicated while driving. For drivers under the age of 21, the limit is 0.02, and for commercial drivers, the limit is 0.04.
Do I need to take field sobriety tests?
In Louisiana, after pulling you over a police officer may ask you to do one of several standard field sobriety tests (FSTs): heel-to-toe walk, one-leg stand, or horizontal gaze nystagmus (shining a light in your eyes and observing your reaction). You are not required to take these FSTs and, indeed, there are good reasons not to: Typically, an officer has already decided to arrest you once they decide to give you an FST. The FST is going to be used as additional evidence against you, and they are, frankly, completely subjective. Often it is best to refuse these tests.
You can also refuse to take a breath test, and that may be your best option for the same reasons, but refusing a breath test will result in the suspension of your license for 6 months. The police must inform you of the consequences of refusing a breath test when they request one.
What are the penalties for a DWI conviction?
For a first-time offense, a DWI conviction can result in fines of up to $1,000, up to six months in jail, and suspension of your driver’s license for up to a year. The consequences are more severe for successive convictions. If this is your fourth offense, you could face up to 30 years in prison and fines as high as $5,000. Other aggravating factors such as having an extremely high BAC, the presence of children in the vehicle, and whether you caused an accident or injured someone can lead to more severe penalties.
Can I go to jail for a DWI?
Yes. Even for a first-time offense, you can go to jail. However, with the help of a qualified defense attorney, it is unlikely you will spend significant time in jail for a first offense.
Will I lose my driver’s license if I am arrested for DWI?
In Louisiana, after you are arrested for DWI, your license will be automatically suspended but you will receive a 30-day temporary permit. You can apply within those 30 days for an administrative hearing to contest the suspension. If you fail to contest the suspension or you lose at your hearing, your license will be suspended. For a first-time offense and a BAC of less than 0.08, your license suspension will be 90 days. With a higher BAC, refusal to submit to a BAC test or prior convictions, the suspension may be longer.
Will I have a criminal record after a DWI conviction?
DWIs are criminal offenses, so the arrest and conviction will appear on your criminal record and on background checks. There are diversion or first-time offender programs available for some first-time offenders, which will keep the conviction off your record. Your criminal defense attorney will help you understand and pursue your best options.
What if I was arrested for drunk driving in Louisiana, but I live out of state?
Your license suspension and any criminal convictions will follow you back to your home state. If you fail to appear in court in New Orleans, the judge may issue a bench warrant for your immediate arrest, and you may face additional consequences. DWI defense attorney Robert S. Toale is familiar with out-of-state clients and will work to limit the number of times you have to appear in Louisiana court, while also fighting to obtain the best outcome for you.
Do I need a lawyer for my DWI case?
You have rights guaranteed by Louisiana law, federal law, and both the federal and state constitutions. A qualified criminal defense attorney can help ensure that you do not forfeit or waive any of your rights and protect you from abuse or undue harassment by police officers. Your attorney will examine and evaluate the evidence against you and build your strongest defense, working to either limit the charges or penalties or to have the charges dropped entirely. Having the right attorney in your corner can mean the difference between spending months in jail and going home with a slap on the wrist.
Contact A New Orleans DUI Lawyer For Drunk Driving Defense
Let my decades of DWI/DUI experience create the solid defense you need. Call 504-370-9233 or simply contact us online to schedule your initial consultation with our New Orleans DWI lawyer.