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Louisiana DUI Laws

When an operator is under the influence of alcohol (and the operator’s blood alcohol content is above the legal limit of 0.08%], a controlled dangerous substance, a non-controlled dangerous substance, or any combination of the first three, then he/she will be operating a vehicle while intoxicated as set forth in LSA-R.S. 14.98. There are various punishments available to the offender, including, but not limited to, an imposition of a fine, probation, community service, a driver improvement program, and/or imprisonment. Under certain conditions, namely if the operator’s blood alcohol content is above a certain percentage and/or the operator is a repeat offender, harsher punishments can be imposed upon that person, as is explained further below. It is also worth noting that it is not necessary for the operator to possess a valid driver’s license to be charged with the crime. This means that an underage or unlicensed operator can be convicted of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. The first and second offenses are misdemeanors. If the second offense occurs when there is a prior conviction for vehicular homicide or 1st degree vehicular injuring, then the second offense is a felony. A third and fourth offense are both felonies.

In order to be convicted of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, the operator must be either: 1) under the influence of alcoholic beverages, 2) have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more by weight [based on grams of alcohol per one hundred cubic centimeters of blood], 3) under the influence of a controlled substance as set forth in Schedule I-V in R.S. 40:964, 4) under the influence of a combination of alcohol and one or more drugs which are not controlled dangerous substances and which are legally obtainable with or without a prescription, or 5) under the influence of one or more drugs which are not controlled dangerous substances and which are legally obtainable with or without a prescription.


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