DWI bills head to the floor: clarify current laws

Photo provided by staff.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 6:53pm

At the Capitol Tuesday, two bills that deal with DWI offenses passed through a Senate committee.

Drinking and driving is an ongoing issue and lawmakers are trying to tackle the problem one bill at a time.
One of the senate bills addressed Tuesday basically labels a vehicular homicide as a violent crime, that's if they have a certain blood alcohol level.

The other, clarifies DWI laws that currently stand. So the combination of these two is sparking conversations across the state, especially in Baton Rouge.

The Gaines family lost seven family members nearly two years ago to a drunk driver. So now a proposed senate bill that adds vehicular homicide to the lists of crimes of violence is sparking their attention.

“The law institute decided that .20 is significant enough to qualify as an intentional act and therefore a crime of violence,” said Sen. Robert Kostelka.

The Gaines family continues to question this new legislation.

"I think this is a good bill they need to look into it more," noted John Gaines Jr.

Another bill up for discussion is Senate Bill 277. It will clarify what's already in our books for DWI offenders.

"We're trying to coordinate those so prosecutors, defense attorneys look at 1498 and actually run through in a much easier fashion,” said Lafayette City Court Judge, Doug Saloom.

Our lawmakers are 100 percent behind this 42 page bill and they say it's been a long time coming.With recent DWI arrests in our cn whose been arrested for DWI not just a few times but seven is just another reason the DWI task force, is cracking down.

Louisiana in my humble opinion is behind other states on moving forward with prosecution on DWI’s. I am all for getting help but when it’s a second, third and forth time I want them off the road. I don’t want them killing my children,” Said Sen. John Perry.

So despite some concern with Senate bill 55, John Gaines says Sen. Perry’s lengthy bill, is a step in the right direction, to help other families like theirs get the justice they deserve.

"The system is broken but I think that if the bill helps create some transparency in the law then it’s a good thing," noted John Gaines Jr.

Senator Perry has another bill coming up next week regarding a specific action when someone is arrested for a DWI.

We will keep you updated and give you the details as the next round of DWI laws come up for discussion in session.


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