Quantcast

ArkLaTex In Depth: DWI Repeat Offenders - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

ArkLaTex In Depth: DWI Repeat Offenders

Posted: Updated:

DWI cases usually come across defense attorney Christopher Hatch's desk after an arrest. If his client gets to him before cuffs are tightened, mug shots are taken, and charges are filed then he has some advice.

"My advice for a person who is being stopped for a DWI is to be polite, to be cooperative, to comply with all the officer's requests to provide any information that's asked of them by the officer," Hatch says. "A separate question is whether one of my clients should participate in field sobriety tests or not," which Hatch says he does not recommend his clients

In Louisiana, a DWI- first offense conviction carries a fine between $300-1,000, as well as up to six months in prison.

But attorneys say judges will often show leniency by suspending the imprisonment in favor of 32 hours community service, defensive driving courses and DWI awareness class.

For the second offense, defendants see higher fines a possible $750-1,000, as well as imprisonment between 30 days and six months. Two of those days are mandatory, but if the rest of the sentence is suspended, a defendant can expect 240 hours community service.

"Here recently, it's been common... people getting arrested for their second offense," says Cpl. Jason Lowe, Bossier City Police Dept. "They don't learn anything from the first one."

Lowe says he's seen as many as 12 drunk driving arrests on a person's record, but because the state clears a DWI conviction after ten years people often will cap at two or three at any given time.

"It doesn't become a felony until the third offense," Hatch says. "The third offense is when a DWI offender is really, really facing some harsher penalties."

The third DWI conviction carries one to five years imprisonment, and one year must be served.

Lowe says this is a threat that becomes reality far too often.

"I've arrested a guy for his first, second, and third [DWI]," Lowe says. "I've done firsts [and] seconds for quite a few people."

A fourth DWI conviction- and any after that- comes with a 10-30 year sentence. Some of the sentence can be suspended, but two years are mandatory.

While sentences can last up to three decades, the reality is rarely so strict. Authorities say prison overcrowding means offenders often get out early and are able to regain a license, hitting the streets again.

"I'm not familiar with any situations that resulted in a permanent license suspension," Hatch says. "Maybe I haven't represented anybody whose been in that much trouble for drinking and driving. If there's a penalty that's that extreme, I'm not aware of it."

Although Hatch hasn't heard of anyone being permanently banned from driving, Lowe says the state does have the authority to seize and sell a repeat offender's car in some cases.

2012 FBI Crime In the United States Report - Driving Under the Influence Arrests:

State     DUI Arrests         State Population    
Arkansas 9,226 2,949,131
    Louisiana     5,259 4,601,893
 Texas     85,436 26,059,203

  • ArkLaTex SlideshowsMore>>

  • ArkLaTex Adoptable Pets

    ArkLaTex Adoptable Pets

    Saturday, April 19 2014 6:50 AM EDT2014-04-19 10:50:42 GMT
    There are lots of animals in the ArkLaTex who are looking for that perfect home.
    There are lots of animals in the ArkLaTex who are looking for that perfect home.
  • Easter Bunnies

    Easter Bunnies

    Saturday, April 19 2014 6:26 AM EDT2014-04-19 10:26:06 GMT
    Thank you to all of our viewers who sent us pictures of your little Easter bunnies.
    Thank you to all of our viewers who sent us pictures of your little Easter bunnies.
  • Celebrate Education 2014

    Celebrate Education 2014

    Thursday, April 17 2014 3:30 PM EDT2014-04-17 19:30:00 GMT
    Community Projects Director Jan Elkins with donors for the KTBS 3 St. Jude Dream Home.
    CELEBRATE EDUCATION, and it begins next week at the Shreveport Convention Center.
  • Assignment EducationMore>>

  • Celebrate Education 2014

    Celebrate Education 2014

    Thursday, April 17 2014 3:30 PM EDT2014-04-17 19:30:00 GMT
    Community Projects Director Jan Elkins with donors for the KTBS 3 St. Jude Dream Home.
    CELEBRATE EDUCATION, and it begins next week at the Shreveport Convention Center.
  • Louisiana Tech to showcase innovation, entrepreneurship at annual ‘I-20 Top 20’

    Louisiana Tech to showcase innovation, entrepreneurship at annual ‘I-20 Top 20’

    Thursday, April 17 2014 2:31 PM EDT2014-04-17 18:31:46 GMT
    University Hall at LA TechUniversity Hall at LA Tech
    Business and community leaders, technology entrepreneurs, and leaders in innovation throughout north Louisiana will gather at Louisiana Tech University, April 29 for the second annual I-20 Top 20 Regional
    Business and community leaders, technology entrepreneurs, and leaders in innovation throughout north Louisiana will gather at Louisiana Tech University, April 29 for the second annual I-20 Top 20 Regional Showcase.
  • Education chief gets favorable job review

    Education chief gets favorable job review

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 8:41 AM EDT2014-04-16 12:41:51 GMT
    John White, LA Superintendent of EducationJohn White, LA Superintendent of Education
    State Superintendent of Education John White has received a favorable job evaluation. The review was done by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Board President Chas Roemer announced
    State Superintendent of Education John White has received a favorable job evaluation.
  • KTBS 3 News Tips

    Send your news tip or story idea to the KTBS 3 Newsroom.  Enter your email address below to get started.

    * denotes required fields
    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thank you for your submission to KTBS 3 News.  A member of our staff may contact you for more information.

Share Your Images
Powered by WorldNow
    Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KTBS. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.
    Advertising | EEO Public File | KTBS 3 Public File | KPXJ 21 Public File