Drivers could pay thousands in penalties over one DWI

Updated: Jan. 1, 2019 at 8:33 PM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Common sights on New Years Eve include fireworks and parties. Another common sight is drunk drivers.

According to AAA, the odds of getting in a car accident on New Year’s Eve skyrockets due to more drunk drivers being on the road; leaving some to ring in the new year with a DWI, which doesn’t come cheap.

“Your first DWI is going to likely cost. When you look at it in total; several thousand dollars," Jacob Johnson, Chief Felony Prosecutor at the Calcasieu District Attorney’s Office said. "The fine is $300 to $1,000. You’ll have court costs on top of that, which are several hundred dollars. Typically you will be placed, for your first offense, on misdemeanor probation, which is approximately $600 worth of supervision fees for a year. All kinds of substance abuse classes. If you retain the services of an attorney, that’s probably several thousands of dollars as well.”

Johnson said those costs go up for repeat offenders.

“Cost increases significantly," Johnson said. "Your second offense, your fine, I believe, is $750 to $1,000. There’s also a lot lot more community service that comes with a second offense. You’re most likely going to have a much more significant probation with that second offense. Third and fourth offenses are felonies. Third offense is a $2,000 fine. A fourth offense is a $5,000 fine.”

If you have a 3rd DWI conviction, you could spend between one to five years in jail; 45 days of mandatory jail time. Your driver’s license will be revoked for two years as well.

If convicted for a 4th DWI, you could face a prison sentence of a minimum of ten years to a maximum of 30 years; two years of the sentence must be served without suspension or parole among other charges.

Those costs not including mandatory jail time and potentially taking someone else's life.

According to Mother’s Against Drunk Driving, Louisiana sees around 225 deaths ANNUALLY on average from drunk driving, accounting for 30 percent of the state’s traffic fatalities.

As Johnson and law enforcement said, the cost, financial and otherwise, just isn’t worth it.

Louisiana State Police Troop D said troopers made 4 DWI arrests on New Years Eve, two of them involved car crashes.

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