The Governor’s Task Force on DWI and Vehicular Homicide recently suggested that the state require judges to sentence all convicted drunk drivers to some jail time. In light of the upcoming legislative session, Sen. Jonathon Perry now intends to introduce a bill that would mandate jail time for DWI offenders by eliminating a judge’s discretion to reduce DWI sentences.
Sen. Perry believes that the proposed legislation would assist the state in reducing alcohol-related injuries and fatalities. However, critics argue that judges need this discretion to justly sentence some DWI offenders, particularly first-time offenders with no history of substance abuse. Sen. Perry indicated that he may be willing to compromise for first-time offenders.
This legislation follows a recent state trend of legislatively imposing harsher penalties for drunk driving. Last year, the legislature passed a law that gave judges the discretion to suspend the drivers’ licenses of individuals accused and convicted of vehicular homicide for up to two years. In 2007, the legislature also passed the mandatory offender ignition interlock law. Statistics suggest that the state’s crack down on drunk driving has decreased alcohol-related fatalities in the state by 40 percent.
Although drunk-driving fatalities in the state have declined, drunk driving remains a serious and preventable problem. In America, drunk driving tragically affects one in three people’s lives. If you or a loved one suffered an injury in a drunk-driving accident, you should seek legal advice. An attorney can assist you in understanding your legal rights. For questions, contact Broussard & David at 1-888-337-2323 (toll free) or 337-233-2323 (local).