When a person is accused of drunk driving in Louisiana, one thing that has very big impacts on what sort of consequences he or she could face if convicted is what he or she has on his or her criminal record. In Louisiana DUI law, how severe of penalties can be given for a DUI conviction in part depends on how many prior offenses a person has. Generally, the more prior offenses, the more severe the penalties can get.

But what exactly qualifies as a prior offense for these purposes? Generally, a past offense has to meet three requirements to be counted. We’ll now go over these three requirements.

  • Conviction: For a prior offense to be counted, a person has to have been convicted for it. Merely having been accused of or arrested for it isn’t enough.
  • Offense type: A prior offense also has to be of a certain type to be counted. Violations of Louisiana DUI laws qualify. Also, violations of DUI laws and ordinances in other states qualify. Additionally, vehicular negligent injuring, first degree vehicular negligent injuring, third degree feticide and vehicular homicide offenses in Louisiana count.
  • When the offense occurred: For DUI law/ordinance violations and vehicular negligent injuring offenses, there is an additional requirement that has to be met to be counted. This requirement is that the prior offense has to have occurred within ten years of the DUI offense the person is now accused of. One important thing to note though is that certain time periods are taken out when calculating whether ten years have passed. This includes time spent incarcerated for any offense and time spent on parole or probation for a DUI-related offense.

As this illustrates, a lot of different factors can play a role in how severe the drunk driving charges a person is facing are. Skilled Louisiana DUI defense attorneys can help individuals accused of DUI in the state understand what the various aspects of state DUI law mean for what their current situation is and what options they have.