Driving under the influence remains a pervasive problem in Louisiana, and court dockets reflect the many charges filed against DUI defendants. Harsh laws seek to prevent people from taking to the road while intoxicated. Many fear arrests, convictions and subsequent permanent criminal records, which is why they won’t drink and drive. Yet, the police still arrest numerous drivers each year, raising questions about the effectiveness of harsh penalties.
Strict penalties and DUI arrests
Several decades of activism by organizations such as MADD led to greater public awareness about the dangers of drunk driving. Some statistics have shown that a drunk driver may take to the wheel 80 times before facing a first-time arrest. The driver who gets away with drunk driving so often might become even more reckless on the road, putting others at risk.
Still, even those who face strict penalties, including fines and jail time, may continue drinking and driving. Some offenders receive multiple convictions but do not stop drinking and driving. A serious crash could be unavoidable for these drivers.
Sometimes, a drunk driver could face multiple charges, such as resisting arrest or even vehicular manslaughter. A driver’s behavior after a stop could impact the charges and subsequent sentencing. Attempts to flee police might make a bad situation far worse legally.
Drunk driving and substance abuse issues
A person’s severe substance abuse issues may leave them unable to stop drinking and driving. State DUI laws could mandate the installation of an ignition interlock device, which could reduce repeat offenses dramatically. However, the driver may get behind the wheel of another person’s car, one without any interlock device.
Challenging DUI charges in court may lead to an acquittal, as not all drunk driving arrests have merit. However, some drivers may rely on guilty pleas in exchange for reduced sentences.