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House committee approves measure to crack down on second-time DWI offenders

Earlier this month, the Louisiana House Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice approved of a measure that would require second-time DWI offenders to spend at least 30 days in jail and go through substance abuse counseling. The measure, which now goes to the House floor for debate, was unanimously approved by the committee, along with another bill which would punish anyone over 18 years of age who fails to report witnessed physical or sexual abuse of a child.

The bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Sherman Mack of Albany, began with requiring up to six months in prison without suspension of the sentence, but an amendment permitted the sentenced to be lowered with court-approved drier improvement and substance abuse counseling. The measure is intended to help offenders rehabilitate and avoid lengthier imprisonment.

Our readers are aware that repeat offenders are treated increasingly harshly by the criminal justice system. According to the Louisiana Department of Motor Vehicles, a first offense will result in a suspension of driving privileges for up to 90 days, up to six months in jail, and a fine up to $1,000. A second offense can result in license suspension for up to one year, a mandatory 48 hours in jail and up to six months of additional jail time, as well as a fine up to $1,000.

Prosecutors are not interested in leniency in DWI cases, and those accused of this crime need to begin right away building a defense and evaluating the weak points in the prosecution's case. Doing so will increase the likelihood of prosecutors dismissing or at least reducing charges.

Source:, "House panel votes to crack down on second-time DWI offenders," Ed Anderson, April 11, 2012

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