Louisiana DWI Laws May Get Tougher

Republican Senator Jonathan Perry said he plans to file controversial DWI legislation because Louisiana needs more aggressive DWI laws, especially for repeat offenders.  Louisiana has had one of the highest rates of alcohol-related deaths in the country.  In fact, alcohol-related deaths accounted for 45 percent of all road deaths in 2009, according to http://www.alcoholalert.com.

Perry said he wants to require that first-time DWI offenders spend at least 10 days in jail without any chance of suspension of the sentence, probation or parole, all of which are allowed now; second-time offenders spend at least 60 days in jail, an increase from 30 days; third-time offenders spend at least three years in jail, an increase from one year; and the maximum would be 10 years, an increase from five years.

Perry said he is aware that these tougher DWI laws could cost DWI offenders their jobs.  On the other hand, Perry said he has seen court dockets with many third and fourth-time DWI offenders being sentenced to 30 to 60 days of home incarceration.

Other current penalties for a DWI conviction may include fines, probation, community service, mandatory attendance at DWI or AA meetings, suspension, revocation or restriction of driver’s license, and installation of ignition interlock devices.

Currently, a charge of DWI becomes a felony when the offender has at least two prior DWI convictions within the last ten years.

Perry proposed his plans at a meeting of the Louisiana governor’s DWI-Vehicular Task Force, a panel that includes lawmakers and officials representing State Police, safety groups, prosecutor offices and others.  Any bill for DWI legislation would be considered during a session that begins in March in Baton Rouge.

If you are have been charged with DWI in Louisiana, contact Baton Rouge DWI Defense Attorney Carl Barkemeyer.

Source: The Advocate, “Longer sentence for first,” February 24, 2012.