After a night out with friends, you may find yourself getting behind the wheel of your vehicle with alcohol in your system. Before you know it, you see flashing blue and red lights in your rearview mirror. You’re getting pulled over for drinking and driving.

Receiving a DWI can be confusing and overwhelming. Here are three questions you might find yourself asking after a DWI conviction.

1. What are the basic penalties?

Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher is illegal in all 50 states. Louisiana considers a first-time DWI offense a misdemeanor. However, that doesn’t make the offense any less serious. The penalties for a first-time DWI conviction can include:

  • Jail time between 10 days and six months
  • Fines between $300 and $1,000
  • Driver’s license suspension for 12 months
  • Community service
  • Substance abuse programs
  • Driver improvement programs

In the event that your BAC is .20 or higher, you may have to pay steeper fines. Additionally, your driver’s license will face a two-year suspension.

2. Can I drive with a suspended license?

A suspension of your license for two years can be inconvenient, especially if you can’t arrange another method of transportation to work or school. But driving with a suspended license can result in even more fines and penalties for you. However, there are ways that you can continue driving after a DWI license suspension.

If you are facing a longer suspension, you may be eligible to apply for a hardship license. This will allow you to complete basic driving journeys like getting groceries or going to important appointments. Along with a hardship license, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device in your car to monitor the amount of alcohol on your breath and prevent you from driving while intoxicated.

3. Where can I get help?

After a DWI charge, you may not know what to do or how to handle your case. Don’t let a DWI charge dictate your future. You may benefit from consulting an experienced criminal defense attorney. They can answer your questions and help fight for the best possible outcome for you.