If you live in The Pelican State or plan on visiting sometime soon, you should get familiar with the state’s drug and alcohol laws.

What are the consequences of drinking and driving? Is cannabis legal? And what kind of penalties exist for breaking the law? Read on for information about substance abuse laws in Kentucky.

DUI Laws in Louisiana

Alcohol affects everything from a driver’s vision to their judgment. In 2017, there were 305 alcohol-related fatal crashes in the state.

This is why driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more is unlawful. This is the case even when a person looks completely sober. Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs also applies to vehicles such as aircraft and watercraft.

Zero Tolerance Laws in Louisiana

Pairing young and unseasoned drivers with substances makes for unsafe roads. This is the consensus across the U.S.

There is a zero tolerance policy towards underage drinking and driving in Louisiana. Young people under the age of 21 are subject to a BAC limit below 0.02%. This is notably lower than the maximum BAC set for their older compatriots and can be reached after just one drink.

Is Cannabis Legal in Louisiana?

The Bayou State has a tough stance on marijuana. The substance is legal for medical use but not for recreation. Anyone who legally has medical marijuana is immune from prosecution for possession. Cultivation at home is prohibited.

Other Substance-Related Crimes in Louisiana

The following activities are illegal:

  • Having or using illicit drugs and/or controlled substances
  • Making, selling or transporting these substances

Louisiana has some of the least restrictive liquor laws in the country. In New Orleans, bars can stay open for 24 hours. Still, if you’re under 21 and attempt to use a fake ID to get alcohol, you face penalties that aren’t too different from a DUI charge.

Penalties for Alcohol or Drug Abuse in Louisiana

DUI Penalties in LA

For a first-time offense, a driver faces these consequences:

  • Between $300 and $500 in fines
  • Jail time between 10 days and six months
  • A high BAC of 0.2% or more leads to a two-year license suspension and up to $1000 in fines.
  • Refusing to take a chemical test can mean a one-year license suspension.

If placed on probation, time in jail is reduced. But the driver has to do the following:

  • A minimum of 32 hours community service
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • A driver improvement program

It’s possible for the court to order the use of an ignition interlock device. This device allows operation of the vehicle if the driver’s BAC is below a set amount.

Further convictions within a ten-year period lead to steeper penalties. Whether a driver causes death or injury is taken into account. DUIs with passengers who are 12 or under are also dealt with strictly. Local authorities can confiscate a vehicle if the driver’s record shows little regard for the law.

Zero Tolerance Penalties in Louisiana

For a first offense, underage drivers face:

  • A $100 to $250 fine
  • 10 days to three months in jail unless granted probation
  • License suspension for six months

Cannabis Penalties in Louisiana

First-time offenders face the following:

  • Possession of up to 14g results in up to 15 days in parish jail and/or up to $300 in fines.
  • Having 2.5 lbs to 60 lbs leads to two to ten years in prison (with or without hard labor) and between $10,000 and $30,000 in fines.
  • Distribution or cultivation can mean five to 30 years of jail time and $50,000 in fines.
  • Convictions related to controlled substances also mean license suspension for at least a month.

Penalties are more severe where there are prior convictions and when distribution is to a minor or within 2000 feet of a drug-free zone.

While we strive to provide updated information, the legal environment is dynamic. Consult with a local lawyer before making decisions that could lead to drug or alcohol charges.

Get Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Louisiana

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, there is hope. We highly recommend seeking treatment. Health professionals can assist you to get back on your feet.

Treatment begins with a safe and supervised detox. Where relevant, doctors taper doses of controlled substances. They also aid with reducing withdrawal symptoms.

Treatment includes therapy which is essential for understanding the causes of substance misuse. Counselors teach patients tools to avoid triggers and cope with cravings.

Getting help shouldn’t be harder than getting drugs. Contact a rehab program near you to discuss the best options to suit your needs. It’s the first step towards a more healthy and happy life.


  1. Beyer, S. (2016). A Tale Of Two Alcohol Laws: New Orleans And Oklahoma City
  2. Louisiana’s Drunk Driving Laws and Penalties
  3. Louisiana Marijuana Laws – FindLaw
  4. https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.dot.gov/files/documents/la_fy2018_ar.pdf
  5. https://norml.org/laws/item/louisiana-penalties-2

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