Will I Go To Jail For A First Time DWI In Louisiana?

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Will I go to Jail For A First Time DWI Offense in Louisiana?

Are you in a bad spot? Have you or someone you know recently been charged with your first DWI? If so, you’re probably wondering: am I going to go to jail. Especially if it’s a first time DWI offense – you may be wondering how bad it will be and if you will be facing jail time for your charges.

I going to be honest with you, jail time is mandatory for any DWI offense in Louisiana. However, the length of jail time, and any further action could depend on several things.


Firstly, it is important to note that there is a difference between DWI (driving while intoxicated) and DUI (driving under the influence). 

Driving while intoxicated or impaired generally refers to alcohol consumption. Driving under the influence can be much more broad and refers to alcohol or drug influence while driving. 

The state of Louisiana keeps them both under the blanket charge of DWI. So, you could receive this charge for any alcohol or drug related driving. Now let’s discuss your question – will I go to jail for a first time DWI in Louisiana and what you can expect.

will I go to jail for a first time DWI in Louisiana?
tips for beating a DWI test

First Time DWI Arrest In Louisiana – What To Expect

A first time DWI arrest comes with a variety of options that the court can use to carry out a sentence. The full extent of a normal charge is as follows:

  • A short stint in jail (anywhere from 10 days to 6 months) along with a probationary period.
  • A fine ranging from $300-$1,000.
  • You will be sentenced to an alcohol rehab program and community service.

Factors When Facing First Time DWI Charges In Louisiana

A first offense generally receives a lighter punishment then multiple DWI offenders. However, the severity of the sentence relies on several factors.

The Evidence Against You: 

This is key, which is why it comes first. However, keep in mind that despite the evidence against you your charges can be drastically reduced with the help of a criminal defense attorney specializing in DWI.

The Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) considered “over the limit” in Louisiana is .08.

  • If you are at, or just over that limit, you may not receive jail time.
  • If you have far surpassed that limit, you may be receiving a heavier sentence. 

Open bottles container

  • If there is an open alcohol bottle in the car, you may be seen as a heavier drinker. The court would most likely drop a heavier sentence.
  • If the car has an obvious drug-related odor, it may be searched for drug paraphernalia. It some is found, the amount could weigh heavily on your sentence.

Court Leniency

Some judges are harsher than others. Whether it’s right or wrong, each judge could feel different about the proper way to prevent someone from becoming a multiple offender.

  • A harsher judge may deem it necessary to throw the full sentence to deter any further criminal acts.
  • A more lenient judge may be swayed by the accused and the evidence against them and allow a lighter sentence.

A Good Defense Attorney

  • It’s never shameful to seek help for yourself. An attorney who knows the law, and the courts, is always good to have on your side. They may be able to argue for a lighter sentence on your behalf.


  • Never underestimate the power of remorse. If you can show that you are truly sorry for what you have done, and if you can make a promise to improve yourself, the court may find it in your best interest to impose a lighter sentence. 

Am I Going To Jail For First Time DWI Charges?

Yes, you are. Sorry to disappoint, but the charges stated above are mandatory for a first time offense. However, the length of jail time (along with further sentence) can be determined by several factors.

If you are within a reasonable range of the BAC limit, and do not possess materials that could further incriminate you, then you may receive the lower end of a jail sentence.

Also, knowing the court is important. If you have a lawyer that is experienced in this field, and know the laws, then they may be able to appeal for a lighter sentence. 

And, of course, there’s always you. If you can appeal to the court’s better nature and prove that you are willing to make yourself better, then you may find leniency and may spend less time in the slammer. 

However, the best way to avoid jail time, and to keep yourself and others safe from DWI charges and penalties is to let someone else be the driver. 

Hire An Experienced DWI Attorney Like Carl Barkemeyer

Carl Barkemeyer is a criminal defense attorney in Louisiana. He has helped thousands of individuals facing DWI charges.

You can contact him today or schedule a consultation to discuss your case.  Carl Barkemeyer, Criminal Defense Attorney has a very high success rate with criminal cases including first time DWI charges. You should now have a better understanding of your question – will I go to jail for a first time DWI in Louisiana.