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DWI sentence can be burdensome, especially for those with DWI history

St. Patrick's Day, as many of our readers know, can be a time of revelry and sometimes unsafe driving. Some people make poor decisions and end up driving under the influence of alcohol. Such mistakes can be easier to make than one thinks. And the consequences can be weighty, particularly if one has previously been convicted of DWI.

Reuters reports that a Louisiana man jumped off the Causeway bridge over Lake Pontchartrain near New Orleans last month, apparently in order to avoid being charged with DWI. The man, at the time of the incident, had already been charged with DWI in Louisiana on a number of other occasions.

Though sources didn't indicate how the man became intoxicated prior to operating his vehicle, he was reportedly wearing a green St. Patrick's Day necklace at the time. Police say he ran over to the edge of the bridge and jumped off the 20 foot bridge as they were beginning to conduct a field-sobriety test. After finding him clinging to the base of the bridge, they cast life preservers and pulled him to safety.

At this point, the man faces his eight set of charges involving driving under the influence. This time he has been charged not only with DWI, but also with resisting arrest and careless driving. He also reportedly has an outstanding warrant for hit and run and reckless driving.

Most of the defendant's previous DWI arrests were in Louisiana, the most recent in 2009. He was also convicted in 2007 and 2002. In Louisiana, DWI charges remain on a driver's record for 10 years, making the recent charges the third in the last 10 years for the defendant. Because of this, he faces a two-year license suspension and his vehicle may end up being confiscated under Louisiana law.

Drunk driving charges can be very disrupting to one's life, especially if one has a history of such charges. Because of this, it is important to look for opportunities to keep one's record clean. This can happen when prosecutors agree to dismiss charges or put a defendant on probation with the possibility of having charges dismissed. In some cases, defendants are able to get fines reduced and substitute community service for jail time.

Whatever the case may be, having an attorney at one's side is indispensible to avoiding a potentially burdensome DWI sentence.

Source: Reuters, "La. Man Jumps Off Bridge to Avoid 8th DWI," Andrew Chow, March 14, 2012.

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