Labor Day Weekend in NOLA brings in hundreds of thousands of people each year from all over the United States. With free concerts around the city, college football kicking off, and the annual, four-day Southern Decadence Festival in the French Quarter (which is estimated to bring in over 200,000 people alone), Labor Day Weekend in New Orleans will be party central.
Have fun, but be cognizant of yourself and your surroundings. Even with relaxed opened container laws in New Orleans, you can expect an increase in police presence and, in consequence, an increase in DWIs and public intoxications (PI) over the weekend.
What a DWI Could Mean for You
Though each DWI case differs depending on facts and circumstances, usually a standard, first-offense DWI is considered a misdemeanor. Even so, in addition to license suspension, a DWI charge could result in up to six months imprisonment, a fine, probation, driver's education courses, and community service.
If you are pulled over while under the influence, law enforcement may ask you to take a blood alcohol level test if they suspect you are intoxicated. In Louisiana, if you refuse chemical testing, it could result in automatic license suspension. You have 15 days to ask for an administrative hearing from the Louisiana Department of Motor Vehicles. If you don't request an administrative hearing, standard license suspension is enforced without exception.
What a PI Could Mean for You
In New Orleans, public intoxication is a municipal offense. Under New Orleans's Code of Ordinances, it is unlawful to be intoxicated to the point of endangering oneself or other persons or property. Public intoxication is considered a misdemeanor and is up to an officer's subjectivity. Basically, it is your word against a police officer's word. One of two things can happen if you are stopped by a local law enforcement officer for public intoxication: an arrest or a summons to appear in court. If found guilty, a PI can result in five months in the Parish Prison and/or a fine of up to $500.
Other charges expected to increase during the weekend include drug possession, property damage, theft, and assault. If you find yourself in one of these situations, and you need advice from experienced criminal defense attorneys, Martzell, Bickford & Centola has more than 30 years of success defending clients charged with criminal offenses in New Orleans. Whether you are a local resident, college student, or visitor in town celebrating the holiday, we could help. We offer a free initial consultation. You can contact us by phone at (877) 772-9828 or online.