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Whether your criminal charges are a felony or a misdemeanor, your freedom is at risk. The penalties for a criminal offense can range from relatively minor to incredibly severe, including long prison sentences or even death. Certain crimes also require financial restitution and can seriously impact your wallet. If you are convicted of certain sex crimes, you may also face lifetime registration as a sex offender, which will greatly affect your life.

If you or someone you care about has been arrested for a criminal offense in the state of Louisiana, you need Jordan Precht at the Precht Law Firm a experienced criminal defense attorney in Lafayette, LA, to defend your case and protect your rights. Contact us today!

Violent Crimes in Louisiana

There are a series of different violent crimes in Louisiana with which you can be charged. Each carries serious penalties, but with the help of an experienced defense attorney, your rights will be protected.


Homicide is the killing of another person without lawful excuse or justification. In Louisiana, there are three main types of homicide.

First-Degree Murder

First-degree murder is the most serious form of homicide. Certain factors must be present for first-degree murder, such as kidnapping, rape, murder for hire, and others. First-degree murder carries a possible sentence of life imprisonment without parole or even the death penalty.

Second-Degree Murder

Second-degree murder is an intentional killing but is not planned or premeditated. It carries with it the punishment of life in prison without parole.


Manslaughter is a murder committed under certain mitigating circumstances. It is usually committed in the "heat of passion," from a provocation, which could make a person so angry that they lose control. The charge comes with a maximum of 40 years in prison in most cases, but if the victim was under the age of 10, the sentence is not less than 10 years but not more than 40.


Depending on the type of harm caused in an alleged attack, assault may be a misdemeanor or a felony. Assault is an attempt to injure another person or an act or threat that causes a person to believe they will be attacked. A felony battery may carry up to $5,000 in fines and anywhere from two to ten years in prison.


Battery is an intentional act of violence of force against a person, such as punching or hitting a person with an object. A battery charge comes in a variety of forms, some more serious than others, including:

  • Second-Degree Battery
  • Aggravated Battery
  • Domestic Abuse Battery
  • Battery Against Special Victims

The penalties for the offense range from one year in prison to up to ten years in prison depending on the offense charged. An experienced Louisiana criminal defense attorney can inform you of the specific penalties you face, as well as defend against your charges.

Drug Crimes in Louisiana

Depending on the drug crime you are charged with, you can face either a misdemeanor or felony charge. Whether you are arrested for possession or trafficking in drugs will make a serious difference in the penalties you face, as well as the type of drug at issue.

Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance

Louisiana divides drugs into five categories, called "schedules," with Schedule I being the most serious and Schedule V being the least serious. Depending on the type of drug and the amount in your possession, the charges will vary greatly.


Misdemeanor amounts carry six months in jail and a $500 fine, but more felony amounts of marijuana can carry severe penalties.


Cocaine penalties are severe in Louisiana. Possession of under 28 grams could result in up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. More than 28 grams can range much higher.


Possession of heroin carries the risk of 5 to 40 years in prison and a fine of not more than $50,000.

Sex Crimes in Louisiana

Sex crimes are incredibly serious and may result in long prison sentences, high fines, and the possibility of lifetime registration as a sex offender. Registration as a sex offender may require lifelong registration with the sheriff's department, restrictions on any jobs you may find, and restrictions on where you may live.


There are multiple kinds of rape in Louisiana. Rape is, generally, intercourse without the consent of another. The penalties depend on the type and severity of the offense.

Aggravated Rape (1st Degree)

Possible sentences include life imprisonment without parole. If the victim was under 13, capital punishment is possible.

Forcible Rape (2nd Degree)

Possible sentences include a prison sentence of 5 years to a maximum of 40 years, with at least two years with no possibility of parole.

Simple Rape (3rd Degree)

Possible sentences include a maximum prison sentence of 25 years without parole.

Statutory Rape

This crime may be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the age of the victim and the age of the offender.

Sexual Battery

Sexual battery is the intentional touching of the anus or genitals of a person using any object or party of the body without consent. Sexual battery carries a potential prison sentence of up to 10 years without parole. Sexual battery by a person over 17 years of age against a person under the age of 13 may result in a prison sentence of 25 to 99 years.


Prostitution is the practice of any kind of sexual intercourse for compensation, or the solicitation by one person of another for that purpose. The penalties range depending on the number of convictions within a five-year period.

First Offense

Sentences include jail for not more than six months, or a fine of not more than $500, or both.

Second Offense

Sentences include a prison sentence for up to two years, a fine of $250 to $2,000, or both.

Third Offense

Sentences include a prison sentence for not more than four years, a fine between $500 to $4,000, or both.

Operating a Motor Vehicle under the Influence (OWI) of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense in Louisiana. Also known as driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI), a conviction may result in a jail or prison sentence, fines, and loss of your driver's license. Whether it is your first, second, or third or more DUI offense, the penalties are severe.

If you or someone you care for has been arrested for OWI/DUI/DWI in the state of Louisiana, you need an experienced OWI defense attorney to defend your case and protect your rights. Remember, just because you are charged with a crime does not mean that you are guilty.


Louisiana's OWI laws are written in Louisiana Revised Statute 14:98. Driving while intoxicated is defined as operating any

  • vehicle,
  • aircraft,
  • watercraft,
  • vessel,
  • bicycle, or
  • ATV

while under the influence of

  • alcoholic beverages,
  • the operator's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% percent or more,
  • the operator is under the influence of any controlled dangerous substance,
  • the operator is under the influence of any combination of the above.

If the operator of the motor vehicle has a BAC of 0.15% or higher, or 0.20% or higher, the penalties for driving while under the influence will be enhanced.


If you are arrested for OWI, the arresting officer will take your driver's license and issue you a 30-day driving permit. The driver can schedule a hearing within 30 days of the notice to appeal the administrative suspension. If the hearing goes against the driver, his or her license will be revoked for either one year or 90 days, depending on that driver's driving history.

You should consult with an experienced Lafayette OWI attorney before attending the hearing. The law can be complex, and if you try to represent yourself you will be expected to know and follow the law. Do not face it alone, and possibly lose your rights.


A first-time charge for OWI in Louisiana is a misdemeanor. The following penalties may apply.

  • Up to six months in jail, or a fine of $300 to $1,000, or both.
  • 48 hours in jail.
  • Up to two years of probation supervision.
  • Approximately 30 hours of education in driver improvement, substance abuse, and a MADD victims impact program.
  • At least 32 hours of community service.

If your BAC is 0.15% or higher, additional harsher penalties may apply, even if it is your first offense.


A second-time charge of OWI is still considered a misdemeanor but carries harsher penalties. These include

  • a minimum fine of $750 to $1,000;
  • 48 hours of a jail sentence must be served, no suspension of the sentence is allowed;
  • up to 30 days of community service;
  • the same education requirements of a first time OWI; and
  • the possibility of imposition of an ignition interlock device.

If your BAC is 0.15% or higher, additional harsher penalties will apply. An experienced OWI attorney can help you to understand the increased penalties which apply to your unique case.


If you are convicted of a third OWI charge, it is now a felony and the penalties become more severe. Now you face the stigma of the "felon" label. Penalties include:

  • a fine of $2,000,
  • one to five years in prison,
  • 30 days of community service,
  • mandatory addiction disorder assessment and evaluation,
  • the possibility of home incarceration and probation,
  • possible seizure of the vehicle, and
  • required ignition interlock device on all vehicles driven by the offender.


A fourth or more charge of DWI is a felony, and is subject to the following penalties:

  • A fine of $5,000.
  • A minimum of 10 years in prison up to a maximum of 30 years in prison.
  • 40 days of community service.
  • Two years of the sentence must be served without any suspension or parole.
  • Home incarceration for one year.
  • Electronic monitoring.
  • Probation.
  • Seizure of the offender's vehicle.
  • Required treatment for addiction disorder.


If a driver has a commercial driver's license (CDL), the driver is subject to specialized rules under Louisiana OWI law. Drivers with a CDL are subject to a BAC limit of 0.04% while operating a commercial vehicle in the course of their duties. If you are convicted of OWI while driving a commercial vehicle you will be unable to drive a commercial vehicle for one year. If you were transporting hazardous materials at the time of your arrest, you will be unable to drive a commercial vehicle for three years. If it is your second offense, you will be unable to drive a commercial vehicle for life.

Losing your rights under a CDL robs you of your ability to work. An experienced Lafayette OWI defense attorney can defend your case to protect your rights and your livelihood.


If you are under the age of 21, a BAC of 0.02% or higher will result in a DWI. If your BAC is higher than 0.02% but less than 0.08%, you can be charged with Underage Operating While Intoxicated under Louisiana Revised Statute 14:98.6.

On a first conviction, you may face the following penalties:

  • A $100 to $250 fine.
  • Jail time of 10 days up to three months.
  • The possibility of 32 hours of community service instead of jail time.
  • Possible participation in a substance abuse program instead of jail time.

A second or subsequent conviction will result in:

  • A fine of up to $500;
  • Minimum of 30 days up to six months in jail;
  • 48 hours in jail and 80 hours of community service instead of remaining jail time; and
  • Participation in a substance abuse program.


An experienced defense attorney can raise certain defenses to reduce or even dismiss your OWI charges. These defenses include the following.

  • Challenging the results of the breathalyzer or roadside field sobriety tests.
  • Proving that you were not operating the vehicle (it was another driver, or the car was inoperable at the time, etc.).
  • Proving a lack of probable cause for the initial stop. If the officer did not have sufficient justification to pull you over, the arrest may be invalid.
  • Showing police officer errors to dismiss your OWI case.


If you have been arrested for a suspected OWI/DUI/DWI in Louisiana, your rights are at risk. You face jail and prison time, high fines, and the loss of your license. There are defenses available which may reduce or even dismiss the charges against you.

Experienced Louisiana OWI defense attorney Jordan Precht at the Precht Law Firm can defend your case to protect your rights. Contact his office today.