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Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is never a good idea anywhere and drivers arrested for a DUI in Louisiana are subject to harsh penalties. In 2008, about 37 percent of all traffic fatalities in Louisiana involved a blood alcohol concentration at or above the state’s legal limit.
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Basic DUI Laws for Louisiana
In Louisiana, drivers may not operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) above .08 percent. Across the U.S., .08 BAC is the limit for drivers to be considered “impaired.” The state has lower BAC cutoffs for underage drivers as well as commercial drivers. Louisiana’s driving while intoxicated (DWI) laws also prohibit drivers from operating a car while under the influence of marijuana, tranquilizers, amphetamines or barbiturates.
DWI Penalties in Louisiana
A first DWI offender will receive a fine of up to $1,000 in addition to paying the costs of all related legal proceedings. Jail time may be assigned for six months, and drivers over 21 will lose their license for three months, or six months if convicted as a minor.
A second conviction for drunk driving requires drivers to spend at least 48 hours in jail, up to a possible six months. Fines and penalties include $1,000 plus the cost of court proceedings, and a possible license suspension for up to one full year.
Third and forth DWI offenders will be charged with a felony offense. A third DWI conviction warrants from one to five years in prison, with a mandatory 45 days jail time. Fourth DW I offenders may spend up to 30 years in jail, with at least 75 days mandatory jail time. Fees are $2,000 for a third conviction and $5,000 for a fourth conviction, with a license suspension for two years. Additionally, the state may seize the driver’s vehicle and sell it. Substance abuse treatment is required with six weeks spent as an inpatient, and 12 months of follow-up outpatient treatment. Community service is also required for drivers placed on probation, with 30 to 40 eight-hour shifts of community service participation.
DWI Accident Rates in Louisiana
One of the most dangerous things about driving drunk is the increased probability of being involved in a serious auto accident. In Louisiana, alcohol-related traffic fatalities have decreased slightly each year since 2006. The average percent of alcohol-related fatalities is still higher each year than the national average. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration collects statistics on traffic fatalities for each state. To help standardize statistics across states with different populations, the NHTSA calculates the number of alcohol related driving fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT). This includes only traffic fatalities that involved at least one person with a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher, which is above the legal limit. When using this statistic, Louisiana’s alcohol-related traffic fatalities are significantly higher than the national average. In 2006, Louisiana had .82 fatalities per 100 million VMT, versus the U.S. average of .45 fatalities per 100 million VMT. By 2009, Louisiana’s statistic improved to .66 alcohol-related fatalities per 100 million VMT, against .37 for the U.S. average.
SR-22 Requirements in Louisiana
Drivers required to maintain an SR-22 certificate in Louisiana must usually keep it for three years. The certificate must be filed by an insurance company before an individual can regain the use of his driver’s license; he must also purchase and maintain at least the state-required minimum liability insurance. An SR-22 insurance policy must not be cancelled or otherwise be allowed to lapse within the three-year period. The insurer is obligated to inform Louisiana’s Department of Motor Vehicles, and the driver’s license will be immediately suspended. To get his license reinstated, the driver must pay a fee to have a new SR-22 certificate filed, and then start up a new insurance policy. An important thing to note is that the three-year probation period resets, and the SR-22 insurance must be maintained for another three years regardless of how much of the original three year period was completed.
Effects of a DWI on Car Insurance Premiums
A DWI can definitely impact auto insurance rates. Once a driver has been convicted of a DUI, insurance companies will place him into a high-risk group for insurance purposes. This group of drivers automatically pays more money for insurance, since their driving history tells the insurance company that they have a higher probability of being involved in an accident. Additionally, the DWI will stay on a driver’s record for 10 years. The impact of this on car insurance will lessen as time goes by; however, the driver will still have significantly higher rates for at least the first three years.
Louisiana Car Insurance for High-Risk Drivers
Finding cheap car insurance may take some effort for drivers with a DWI or DUI but it is still possible to find affordable car insurance after a DUI. Some car insurance companies specialize in insuring high-risk drivers while others offer high risk insurance only as a small part of their overall products. However may big brand names like The General Car Insurance, Progressive Insurance and Geico all provide high-risk or SR-22 insurance so get started and shop around. Cheap car insurance after a DUI is not always easy to find but with a good car insurance comparison search many drivers still find sufficient coverage with affordable premiums. Enter your ZIP code above to find cheap car insurance after a Louisiana DUI conviction today.
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