Sen. Jonathan Perry added teeth to the Louisiana DWI drinking laws and penalties after getting three of his bills signed into law by Jindal.
“We (legislature) took great strides toward strengthening Louisiana’s DWI laws in the 2012 session. I feel there is still much more we must do to protect our families on Louisiana roads.” stated Sen. Perry.
Here are the three bills and their meaning.
SB 485: His bill makes a detectable amount of illicit drugs in a person’s blood system a contributing factor to vehicular homicide. Many impaired drivers on Louisiana’s roads drive under the influence of illegal drugs. This new law will assist prosecutors go after offenders who have committed vehicular homicide and have illegal or unprescribed drugs in their blood system.
SB 486: His bill addresses penalties for persons with three DWI offenses enrolled in DWI or drug courts and restricts reinstatement of driving privileges for multiple offenders arrested for a DWI.
• Third offense DWI offenders enrolled in a DWI or drug court must report for work to fulfill court requirements and be subject to heavy supervision and drug screening by court staff. This bill will authorize judges to permit or revoke the ability of these type offenders to possess an ignition-interlock-hardship-restricted driver’s license for driving to and from work or for attending chemical dependency treatment sessions or meetings.
• Additionally, this bill will prevent repeat DWI offenders who refuse a breath test or chemical test from having their driver’s license immediately reinstated if they are pled down to a lesser charge or dismissal. Previously, the law incentivized repeat offenders to refuse a breath test, weaken the prosecution by avoiding chemical evidence, and thereby increase their chance of a lower criminal charge or dismissal. The law allowed the offender in that case to immediately regain their driver’s license with full driving privileges. This bill removes that incentive for repeat offenders and will require these offenders to go through an administrative driver’s license hearing that can result in them receiving a restricted driver’s license requiring an interlock device on their vehicle.
•SB 488 : Senator Jonathan Perry addresses penalties for persons with second DWI offenses. Prior to Governor Jindal signing this new law, individuals convicted of a second offense DWI with a blood alcohol concentration of .2 percent or more were not mandated to serve out the 45 day waiting period for receiving a restricted hardship license, even though it is mandated for those convicted of other types of second offense DWIs. This new law will require this type of second DWI offender to serve out the 45 days waiting period before applying for a restricted hardship license.