A Shreveport man was recently found guilty in Caddo Parish for his fourth DWI that will put him in jail for at least a decade, and possibly up to 40 years, according to local news reports. It took the jury 15 minutes to determine unanimously 50-year-old man was intoxicated when he drove into a culvert and knocked down a stop sign in the empty parking lot of Wal-Mart SuperCenter on Westport off Pines road early Christmas Day 2016 in Shreveport.
The accident was witnessed by an off-duty Shreveport police patrol officer who stopped to help. The officer noticed the odor of alcohol and Valadez was unsteady on his feet. When tested by a DWI officer, Valadez had blood alcohol level of .118, which is over the legal limit.
Louisiana Revised Statute 14:98 states the law of DWI. Driving While Intoxicated is defined as operating a motor vehicle when under the influence of alcohol, or controlled dangerous substance drugs, or, when a person’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) is .08 or greater.
The penalties are “enhanced,” or made harsher, as one goes from a first to a second, to a third, to a subsequent fourth offense for DWI. If the driver of the vehicle has a blood alcohol over .15, or the next level, .20, then penalties are even harsher. At the third offense level, a DWI becomes a felony, as opposed to a misdemeanor crime, which is what DWI first and second offenses are classified as.
There is a “cleansing period” of ten years, after which a prior DWI conviction or plea in any state, including Louisiana, cannot be used against a person charged with DWI, for enhancement of charges. However, in 2008 the law was amended to extend that ten-year period by excluding all time spent between date of arrest and time spent on probation, which can extend the time period to use prior arrests for many years longer than ten years. Note that it does not matter in which state the charged person incurred the prior DWI.
A fourth-offense DWI charge or “subsequent fourth offense” DWI is considered a felony, with the following penalties:
- A fine of $5,000
- A prison sentence of a minimum of ten years to a maximum of 30 years imprisonment
- 40 days of community service
- Two years of the sentence must be served without suspension or parole
- Home incarceration for at least one year
- Electronic monitoring
- Seizure of the vehicle the offender was driving
- Required Treatment
- Additional penalties are imposed if there was a violation of the child endangerment law or if driver had above .15 BAC.
If you are facing a serious DWI charge, no matter what your past is, you will definitely need to consult an experienced attorney when it comes to handling your important case. Greenwald Law Firm has the experience and dedication it takes to properly serve you in this challenging legal position. While we may not be able to have all of the charges dropped, our goal will be to minimize the impact of the damages to your life if any charges are held after trial. Please call our offices today to speak with a professional DWI attorney during a free initial consultation.