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What to Expect: An Overview of DUI/DWI Proceedings

Posted on by Townsend Myers

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There are two separate and distinct (though related) proceedings associated with a DWI case in Louisiana – the DWI Trial proceedings associated with the criminal charge of Driving While Intoxicated, and the Administrative Proceedings associated with the proposed revocation of your driving privileges for failing or refusing the blood alcohol test (BAC). These two are discussed below:

DWI Trial

  • DWI trials in New Orleans are held in Traffic Court, 727 South Broad Street.
  • The issue is whether you are GUILTY of DWI, that is were you:
    1. Driving
    2. Intoxicated [either (a) tested over the legal limit (Blood alcohol content: BAC); or (b) exhibited other indications of intoxication (odor of alcohol, field sobriety test, etc.)]
  • Trial scheduled roughly 2 months from 1st appearance.
  • Possible penalties are up to 6 months in parish jail, $1000 fine.
  • Possibility exists for First Offenders to have record expunged after completing probation (Art. 894)
    1. usually includes some AA meetings, community service and driver improvement class;
    2. payment of $300-500 fine;
    3. probation for 6 months or less usually.

Administrative Hearing

  • The administrative hearing is a separate proceeding held in connection with either your refusal to submit to the BAC, or your failing the BAC.
  • Hearings are held in Administrative Law Court, 1st Parish Court in Metairie.
  • If you refused the test, your driving privileges can be suspended for 90 days and up.
  • If you failed the test, your driving privileges can be suspended for 180 days and up.
  • Issue is whether police had a right to demand you take the BAC test.

If took the test and failed…

    1. Were the proper notifications given?
    2. Were the proper procedures followed?
    3. Were you driving?
    4. Was there a suspicion that you had been drinking?

If you refused…

    1. Were you driving?
    2. Was there a suspicion that you had been drinking?



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