Tougher DWI bills on the horizon

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DWI law on horizon - Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias, LLCThe Jindal administration has long had its sights set on toughening DWI laws in the state. Just last year, Governor Jindal signed into law six bills affecting driver’s license suspension, multiple DWI convictions, and other DWI laws.

Members of the Louisiana legislature are often considering bills that would crack down on drunk drivers. One such bill, sponsored by Rep. Steven Pylant, passed the Louisiana House Transportation committee during the last session of Congress in April, according to The Advocate.The bill, House Bill 682, mandates that those who were arrested for a DWI could still see their driver’s license suspended—even if they are acquitted or plead to a non-alcohol-related offense.

The introduction of House Bill 682 was backed by the Jindal administration. Stafford Palmieri, policy advisor to Governor Jindal, stated that the bill was created to close a “loophole” in DWI law. DWI law involves two separate tracks: proceedings in a criminal court and an administrative proceeding regarding the accused person’s license. Currently, if a person’s DWI offense is reduced or if the person is found not guilty, they are may be able to keep their license through the administrative proceeding.

The bill has drawn strong criticism from DWI defense attorneys, who have said that the bill amounts to discrimination against innocent individuals. If a person is found not guilty of committing a DWI offense, it is justice that their license remains suspended for an offense they did not commit?

House Bill 682 was rewritten in committee and became House Bill 1204. Having passed the House, the bill continued to the Senate, where it is pending in Senate Committee Judiciary B.

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Categorized as Blog, DUI, DWI

By George Vourvoulias

George is a founding member and managing member of Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias L.L.C., a New Orleans law firm. George concentrates his practice in maritime personal injury, construction litigation, personal injury, workers' compensation, medical malpractice, and DUI defense. George Vourvoulias's Google+ Profile