What should I do if I get pulled over in the Lafayette, LA area?
Click here for a free glove box guide that lists some advice in the event you are ever stopped by the police.
Why do you call it an “OWI” and not a “DWI”?
OWI is the proper terminology in Louisiana. Here, the law states that “operation” of a motor vehicle while impaired is a crime. It is a broader definition and covers more than simply “driving while intoxicated.” OWI is the operation of any motor vehicle, aircraft, vessel, or other means of conveyance when the operator is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or a combination.
I was arrested for an OWI. When should I contact a lawyer?
Immediately. We like to meet with clients as soon as possible after arrest, for several reasons. First, there are strict deadlines to preserve and protect the client’s license privileges (30 days from date of arrest). In addition, clients can provide facts useful in their representation when their memory is best. The lawyer also may have to gather evidence which may be lost, and finally, the lawyer can begin working with the client in reaching the best result possible.
Why are OWIs so difficult to defend?
OWIs are highly technical, highly scrutinized by the public and law enforcement, and there are inconsistencies on how the offense is handled throughout different jurisdictions. Further, the client is usually an “amateur” within the criminal justice system (this is a good thing), and usually faces severe and unexpected consequences with their employment, school, and/or personal lives. For that reason, we recommend that anyone charged with an OWI hire someone that is very experienced in that area of law.
How many days do I have to file for a license hearing?
You have to file for an appeal and administrative hearing within thirty (30) days from date of arrest.
Can I drive while my license is suspended?
Typically. Most people qualify for a hardship license. That is a restricted license that allows for activities “necessary to sustain life.” To obtain it from the Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV) you will need to show proof of installation of an interlock device, SR-22 (high risk) insurance, and payment of a fee.
How long is the license suspension?
It depends. Generally, your license may be suspended for 90 days if you blow over the legal limit of .08 g/%, one year for a refusal, and two years for blowing over a .20 g/%. There are some additional rules for multiple offenders and underage OWIs.
What’s an underage OWI?
In Louisiana, if the driver is under 21, and the blood alcohol content is over .02 – which is a tiny amount, about one drink – but under .08 g/%, the driver can be charged with Underage OWI. The license suspension is longer – 180 days – but the penalties are not as severe as a regular OWI.
When do I have to go to court?
It all depends on the jurisdiction. Some courts provide you a court date upon arrest, and some will serve you with a court date. In some jurisdictions you can be called to court in a month or two, while others will set your first court date several months after arrest.
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