Crackdown on Crime - DWI's hit all time high - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Crackdown on Crime - DWI's hit all time high

By Lee Peck - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - In the last ten years traffic citations in Calcasieu Parish have more than doubled - hitting an all time high of 20,000 last year alone. That does not include DWI's: they're also up from 452 in 1999 to more than 1,600 in 2008. Calcasieu Parish District Attorney John DeRosier credits the spike to Calcasieu Force - the vast network of law enforcement agencies targeting impaired drivers.

"I think what we have doubled are the people we are catching who have always been drinking and driving in Calcasieu Parish," said DeRosier. 

Grants funding random DWI checkpoints have also helped. But working against them is the statute that allows judges to reduce the sentences for multiple DWI offenders - something DeRosier's office is seeing more of.

"Many years ago, I can remember that judges would sentence 3rd and 4th offense DWI people to 5 or 10 years in prison and that's it, they went to jail," recalled DeRosier. 

Now multiple offenders have several options, including drug abuse counseling and house arrest with a suspended driver's license. While DeRosier is not against that, he says the law needs to be changed for those who don't follow orders.

"The judges can order that they don't drive anymore, but that is not going to physically stop somebody from driving while they're drinking, while they're impaired and injuring or killing somebody on the highways. So the statute needs to be amended. That's what it tells me," said DeRosier. 

Helping change that culture is State Representative Jonathan Perry. "We're not saying don't drink, but what we're saying is if you drink - don't drive. And if you do you are going to face harsher penalties than what you have in the past," said Rep. Perry. 

A former police officer and prosecutor, Perry noted at Thursday's legislative luncheon several increased penalties under Governor Bobby Jindal's DWI Task Force - including refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test.

"It was actually an incentive before not to blow because it was less of a penalty if you got convicted of a DWI," explained Perry. 

As Calcasieu and parishes around the state continue to crack down and toughen the laws, DeRosier expects opposition.

"Because we're making it tougher. Remember it used to be tough and got easier. So bringing it back in that direction is not going to be real easy to do," said DeRosier.  

DeRosier expects to propose his changes to the statue to lawmakers before the next legislative session. Meanwhile as part of our Crackdown on Crime series, we'll start profiling multiple DWI offenders here in Calcasieu Parish.

(Copyright 2009 KPLC-TV. All rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • UPDATE: Crowley officer shot Wednesday night has been released from hospital

    UPDATE: Crowley officer shot Wednesday night has been released from hospital

    Thursday, March 23 2017 6:03 PM EDT2017-03-23 22:03:25 GMT
    Roscoe and his handler Tate Thibodeaux (Source: Crowley Police Department)Roscoe and his handler Tate Thibodeaux (Source: Crowley Police Department)

    A Crowley police officer is recovering after getting shot overnight, authorities said.

    More >>

    A Crowley police officer is recovering after getting shot overnight, authorities said.

    More >>
  • BREAKING

    Crowley police dog shot and killed overnight brought to Calcasieu Parish

    Crowley police dog shot and killed overnight brought to Calcasieu Parish

    Thursday, March 23 2017 5:54 PM EDT2017-03-23 21:54:25 GMT
    Roscoe and his handler Tate Thibodeaux (Source: Crowley Police Department)Roscoe and his handler Tate Thibodeaux (Source: Crowley Police Department)

    A Crowley Police Department K-9 officer died in an overnight shooting that left two others dead and an officer wounded.  The K-9 officer Roscoe was transported to the Calcasieu Parish Coroner's Office on Thursday around noon. Police held a procession for the slain K-9 officer. Roscoe is set to be cremated tomorrow in Sulphur.  State police are continuing to investigate the shooting. The identity of the victims are unknown at this time. Copyright ...

    More >>

    A Crowley Police Department K-9 officer died in an overnight shooting that left two others dead and an officer wounded.  The K-9 officer Roscoe was transported to the Calcasieu Parish Coroner's Office on Thursday around noon. Police held a procession for the slain K-9 officer. Roscoe is set to be cremated tomorrow in Sulphur.  State police are continuing to investigate the shooting. The identity of the victims are unknown at this time. Copyright ...

    More >>
  • FIRST ALERT FORECAST: Warm temperatures will continue, but rain is on its way!

    FIRST ALERT FORECAST: Warm temperatures will continue, but rain is on its way!

    Thursday, March 23 2017 4:19 PM EDT2017-03-23 20:19:34 GMT
    Cold front brings rain Friday nightCold front brings rain Friday night

    Overnight we are less likely to see fog develop. We will have windier conditions which will limit the fog tonight. We will have slightly windy conditions with increasing clouds throughout the night. Lows will be in the middle 60s. Friday will start out with mostly cloudy skies. Showers and thunderstorms will be heading toward the area. The rain should arrive more in the evening, then will continue overnight into Saturday morning. Most of the heavier rain will be north of our area.

    More >>

    Overnight we are less likely to see fog develop. We will have windier conditions which will limit the fog tonight. We will have slightly windy conditions with increasing clouds throughout the night. Lows will be in the middle 60s. Friday will start out with mostly cloudy skies. Showers and thunderstorms will be heading toward the area. The rain should arrive more in the evening, then will continue overnight into Saturday morning. Most of the heavier rain will be north of our area.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly