When an individual is charged and convicted with DUI in the state of Louisiana, one of the penalties they are often faced with is losing their driving privileges. This can be for a few months, a year, or even two years, however, it all depends on the severity of the charge as well as the other circumstances surrounding the crime. For instance, if an individual was charged as a first time DUI offender with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) level below .20, they would be subjected to having their license suspended for one year. And if their BAC level was .20 or higher and it was their first offense, they could potentially have their driving privileges suspended for two years.
While some DUI offenders are required to spend this length of time without driving, there are times when they may be granted with a hardship license, or a restricted license that is issued while their driving privileges are under suspension. A hardship license allows a DUI offender to operate their vehicle “to earn a livelihood or to maintain the necessities of life” [Source: Louisiana Department of Public Safety]. Basically, this means they may be able to drive to and from work or even to school but are restricted from operating their motor vehicle for other personal reasons.
Now, not everyone who has been convicted of DUI qualifies for a hardship license so if you were recently charged with driving under the influence, it is best you speak with a Baton Rouge, Louisiana criminal defense attorney who can determine if your circumstances permit you to receive one. Those who can prove they need one and qualify for it are required to have an ignition interlock device installed inside their vehicle.
What is an ignition interlock device?
An interlock ignition device is “an in-car breath alcohol screening device that is connectedto the vehicle’s engine ignition system and prevents the vehicle from starting if the device detects a blood alcohol level at or above a preset limit” [Source: Louisiana Department of Public Safety]. Essentially, it is a breathalyzer test placed inside a vehicle that detects if alcohol is present in a person’s system and prevents them from driving if any is.
What other requirements must be met to receive a hardship license?
Aside from having the ignition interlock device installed inside their vehicle, the court also requires that the DUI offender:
- Provide documented proof that the ignition interlock device has been properly leased and installed in the vehicle.
- Provide actual proof of why they need the hardship license and how it will help them “sustain life.”
- Submit a certificate of liability insurance from an insurance company that is authorized to do business in Louisiana.
[Source:Louisiana Department of Public Safety].
Can a LA criminal defense attorney increase my chances of getting a hardship license?
Absolutely. In fact, not only can a criminal defense attorney gather the evidence needed to prove to the judge that you need a hardship license, but they can potentially get your charges reduced before your case even reaches this point. Anytime an individual is charged with driving under the influence in Baton Rouge, LA or any other city within the state of Louisiana, they should hire an attorney who can protect their rights and fight for a favorable outcome. Whether this means getting their charges lowered or dismissed or convincing a judge to allow a defendant to operate their vehicle on a restricted license, defense lawyers have some incredible skills that can truly benefit someone who is facing a serious charge such as a DUI.
With that said, if you or someone you know was charged with DUI in Baton Rouge, LA or convicted of the crime and are looking to retain a lawyer who can help them get a hardship license, contact the Baton Rouge, LA criminal defense lawyers at Miller, Hampton & Hilgendorf today.
You can reach Miller, Hampton & Hilgendorf at:
3960 Government Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70806