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Take drunk driving charges in Louisiana seriously

Louisiana is a state that lives by the mantra "Laissez les bon temps rouler." Some places have drive-thru liquor stores and alcoholic beverages can be found in almost all grocery, corner and convenience stores.

Because of the abundance of alcoholic offerings, it is imperative that anyone who is driving understands some of the basics about drunk driving here. Check out the following points:

Open containers are forbidden

There can't be any open containers of alcohol in the vehicle when you are driving. This means that passengers in the vehicle can't be consuming alcohol. If you go through a drive-thru liquor store, such as a daiquiri shop, make sure that everyone keeps the straw hole covered and that nobody takes a sip until you get to where you are going. Don't let anyone have alcoholic beverages in the passenger compartment at all. Place them in the trunk or the rear of the vehicle.

Blood-alcohol concentration limits aren't all the same

There are three blood-alcohol concentration limits to remember. People who are 20 years old or younger have a limit of .02 percent. Drivers who are 21 years old or older have a limit of .08 percent. People who are operating a commercial vehicle have a limit of .04 percent.

Penalties get increasingly harsh upon subsequent convictions

A first driving while intoxicated charge can cost you upwards of $4,500. You face a $1,000 fine plus all of the court costs and other fees. Your driver's license can be suspended for up to 365 days and you might be incarcerated for up to six months.

On a second conviction, you face a mandatory 48-hour jail sentence, but there is a possibility of up to six months in jail. You are also facing fines and the loss of your driver's license for two years.

The third conviction, which is a felony, comes with a 30-day mandatory minimum incarceration period with a maximum of one to five years. You also have to go through inpatient and outpatient substance abuse treatments. You will lose your driver's license for three years and the vehicle you are driving can be seized and sold.

A fourth conviction carries a 30-day mandatory minimum incarceration period with up to 30 years possible. You will lose your license for three years. This felony also comes with five years of home incarceration.

It is also possible to face enhanced charges if you are involved in a fatal accident and found to be drunk. You could face up to 30 years in prison in this case, even if it is your first offense.

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Lake Charles, LA 70629

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