DWI and license suspensions


Did you know that if you're convicted of a DWI, the State of Louisiana automatically suspends your driver's license for a year? And if you're caught driving with a suspended license, you could potentially face up to 6 months in jail a hundreds of dollars in fines. 

 

What is a DWI?

According to LA RS 14:98:

Operating a vehicle while intoxicated

            A.(1) The crime of operating a vehicle while intoxicated is the operating of any motor vehicle, aircraft, watercraft, vessel, or other means of conveyance when any of the following conditions exist:

            (a) The operator is under the influence of alcoholic beverages.

            (b) The operator's blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 percent or more by weight based on grams of alcohol per one hundred cubic centimeters of blood.

            (c) The operator is under the influence of any controlled dangerous substance listed in Schedule I, II, III, IV, or V as set forth in R.S. 40:964.

 

            (d)(i) The operator is under the influence of a combination of alcohol and one or more drugs that are not controlled dangerous substances and that are legally obtainable with or without a prescription.

 

Is a DWI a Felony?

Typically, first time DWI offenders will face a misdemeanor charge, unless their are special circumstances. a DWI charge becomes a felony when it is a repeat offense. This means that if you have been convicted of a DWI in other states or in Louisiana on previous occasions, you will most likely face a felony charge. 

 

Will my license be suspended if I'm convicted of a DWI?

Yes, if you are convicted of a DWI, your license will automatically be suspended for a year. 

 

Do I contact the District Attorney's Office about my suspended license?

No, the District Attorney's Office has nothing to do with suspended licenses, you must go through the DMV. Find more info from the DMV here.

 

What will happen if I drive with a suspended license? 

If you are caught driving while having a suspended license, you could potentially face up to 6 months in jail and/or $500 in fines according to LA RS 32:415:

§415. Operating vehicle while license is suspended; offenses in other states; record of offenses given other states

            A. It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle upon any public highway of this state during the period of suspension, revocation or cancellation of any license which may have been issued to him by this state or by any other state.

            B.(1) Any period of suspension or revocation shall automatically be extended for a period of one year from the date the licensee would otherwise have been entitled to apply for a new license upon his conviction for any offense involving the operation of a motor vehicle committed during such period. No driver shall use a license issued to him in another state or the privilege of a nonresident to drive a motor vehicle in this state, upon receiving notice of his conviction, or of the entry of a plea of guilty and sentence thereupon, or of the forfeiture of bail in another state of federal jurisdiction for any offense, which if committed in this state, would be grounds for suspension or revocation of the license.

            (2) The court may order a licensee who violates the provisions of Subsection A of this Section to have an ignition interlock device installed on any vehicle in which the licensee operates when the license was suspended, revoked, or canceled pursuant to the implied consent law in accordance with the provisions of R.S. 32:661 et seq. or for a violation of any of the following:

            (a) R.S. 14:98.

            (b) R.S. 14:32.1.

            (c) R.S. 14:39.1.

            (d) R.S. 14:39.2.

            (e) A parish or municipal ordinance that prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

            (3) If the provisions of Paragraph (1) of this Subsection are ordered by a court, the court shall order that the ignition interlock device remain installed for a period of time not less than the remaining period of suspension, revocation, or cancellation.

            C.(1) A person with a Class "D" or Class "E" driver's license who violates the provisions of Subsection A of this Section may be fined up to five hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both, and may be subject to a civil penalty of up to one thousand two hundred fifty dollars. A person shall not be arrested or imprisoned for a violation of this Section due solely to a suspension imposed pursuant to R.S. 32:414(R)(1).

            (2) A person with a Class "A", "B", or "C" driver's license who violates the provisions of Subsection A of this Section may be fined up to five thousand dollars or imprisoned for not more than six months or both and may be subject to a civil penalty of up to two thousand five hundred dollars.

            D.(1) If the court finds that the defendant violated Subsection A at the time of conduct resulting in a conviction for a second or subsequent offense violation of R.S. 14:98, the offender shall be fined not less than three hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars and imprisoned for not less than seven days nor more than six months. At least seven days of such imprisonment shall be without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence and shall be consecutive to any sentence imposed for the violation of R.S. 14:98. In addition the person may be subject to a civil penalty of up to one thousand two hundred fifty dollars.

 

            (2) If the person is operating a Group "A", "B", or "C" vehicle, and the court finds that the defendant violated Subsection A of this Section, at the time of conduct resulting in a conviction for a second or subsequent offense in violation of R.S. 14:98, the offender shall be fined not less than three hundred dollars nor more than five thousand dollars and imprisoned for not less than seven days nor more than six months. At least seven days of such imprisonment shall be without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence and shall be consecutive to any sentence imposed for the violation of R.S. 14:98. In addition, the person may be subject to a civil fine of up to two thousand five hundred dollars.


Restraining + Protective Orders


What is a Protective Order?

Protection order, restraining order, injunction against abuse, peace bond, or criminal order of protection are all terms used generally to refer to court orders that require one person to stay away from another person. The intention of such orders is to prevent abuse and enhance safety for the person who is seeking the court's protection. These orders may be issued by a civil court, a juvenile court, a family court, or a criminal court.

 

Although anyone can ask the court to issue an order restraining someone else in order to prevent behavior that is potentially harmful, only those orders issued to prevent domestic abuse, dating violence, stalking or sexual assault are included in the Louisiana Protective Order Registry.

 

The items for court orders of protection are often used interchangeably, but there are some distinctions.

 

Temporary Restraining Order (TRO):

This term refers to an order that is issued in response to a petition to the court for protection and prior to a hearing by the court. It may also be called an ex parte order. Temporary orders generally expire on the date of the hearing. 

 

Protective Orders (POs):

Although all orders granting protection are frequently referred to as protective orders, more specifically, a protective order is an order that is granted under Louisiana's Domestic Abuse Assistance Act, Protection from Dating Violence Act, Children's Code Domestic Abuse Assistance Act, Protection from Stalking Act, or Protection for Victims of Sexual Assault Act, after the court hearing.

  • Criminal Protective Order: Criminal protective orders are governed by Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure Article 313, known as “Gwen’s Law.” In any case in which a defendant is accused of using force or violence against a household member or dating partner (as defined in the statute), the court is required to hold a contradictory hearing before setting bail to determine the conditions of bail and whether the defendant should be held without bail. If the court determines that the defendant poses a threat or danger to the victim, the court shall order that the defendant refrain from going near the victim's home, school, or place of employment, and shall refrain from having any contact with the victim whatsoever. These conditions will remain in place (unless modified) while the defendant is on bail (i.e.: until the criminal case has concluded).
  • Civil Protective Order: Civil protective orders are governed by Louisiana Revised Statutes, Title 46, Chapters 28 & 28-a, c & d; specifically: §§2131, et seq., 2151, et seq., 2171, et seq., and 2181, et seq. A civil protective order can be filed on behalf of the petitioner alone, the petitioner's minor children, alone, or both. A Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) shall issue pending a hearing on the permanent order if the petitioner shows an immediate and present danger of abuse in the petition. 

Injunctions Against Abuse:

An injunction is also a kind of order of protection and refers to an order issued after a hearing under the Post-Separation Family Violence Relief Act or Code of Civil Procedure Articles, or in conjunction with a divorce proceeding. a Preliminary Injunction is a court order issued after a court hearing and a Permanent Injunction is a court order issued after a trial on the merits.

 

 

Criminal Orders of Protection:

A criminal court may issue an abuse prevention order in conjunction with a criminal charge brought before that court. When the defendant charged with a crime is ordered to stay away from the victim, this order is referred to as a criminal order of protection. Depending upon the stage in the court process at which this order is issued, the order may contain conditions of release, bail restrictions, sentencing orders, probation conditions, or conditions of parole. Not all criminal orders of protection are sent to the Louisiana Protective Order Registry, only those involving domestic or dating relationship between the parties or stalking or sexual assault by a stranger or acquaintance of the victim.

 

Who can file a Temporary Restraining Order or Protective Order?

In Louisiana, anyone who has one of the following relationships to the abuser can be eligible for a protective order:

 

A family member, which includes:

  • a spouse or former spouse;
  • a child, step-child, foster child;
  • grandchildren, great-grandchildren;
  • a parent, step-parent, foster parent;
  • grandparents, great-grandparents;
  • the other parent of the abuser's child;
  • the other foster parent of the abuser's foster child;

A household member, which includes:

  • Someone who live(d) with the abuser in the same home and is/was in a sexual or intimate relationship with the abuser;
  • any child who live(d) in the same home as the abuser;

 A dating partner:

  • someone who is/was involved in a sexual or intimate relationship with the abuser, regardless if they lived together.

 

Women who are victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the Calcasieu Parish Women's Shelter, "Oasis". The shelter has staff available to assist women with the filing of a Protective Order and Temporary Restraining Order as well as provide other services to women in need.

 

What is the District Attorney's Role?

The Calcasieu Parish District Attorney's Office does not handle the filing of restraining or protective orders and can't offer legal advice. The only instance in which the DA's Office is involved is the recommendation of an order during a Gwen's Law hearing. 

 

Where to file a Temporary Restraining Order or Protective Order?

Calcasieu Parish Clerk of Court located at 1000 Ryan Street.