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Senator wants to require all DWI offenders to serve jail time

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Motorists convicted of DWI, even on a first offense, should spend some time in jail, a Louisiana Senator said this week.

Anyone convicted of driving while intoxicated would have to serve a jail sentence under a bill being proposed for the March 12 session of the Legislature.

Sen. Jonathan Perry, R-Kaplan, a former police officer and prosecutor, said that he intends to file legislation at the March 12 lawmaking session that would take away a judge’s authority to suspend sentences or grant home incarceration to DWI violators.

Perry, who said he comes from a family with alcohol abuse problems, said he is pushing the mandatory jail sentences because the state is not “making large enough strides” in reducing its alcohol-related accidents, injuries and fatalities.

“I am not going to tell somebody they cannot drink, but I am going to tell them they can’t drink and drive,” Perry told the task force, which took no action on his proposal. “It is part of our culture, but that is not an excuse.”

Norma Broussard, an assistant district attorney in Jefferson Parish, suggested that Perry require a substance abuse assessment for a first-time offender to determine if the drinking is part of a pattern or just a one-time incident. An evaluation is not done now until a third conviction.

Perry said he in most cases his proposal does not raise fines for offender because higher fines have no effect. He also said that “home incarceration is a joke.”

If you or anyone you know has been arrested for a DWI or DUI, call Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias immediately at 504.717.2093. Our New Orleans attorneys will help you protect your legal rights.

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About Jim Harmon

Jim Harmon is a founding member of Harmon, Smith and Vourvoulias L.L.C. Jim practices primarily in the areas of personal injury litigation, workers' compensation, and DUI defense.Jim Harmon's Google+ Profile

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