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Tougher OWI Penalties For Impaired Louisiana Drivers Starts August 1

 DUI Checkpoints
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

I hope that headline won’t encourage anyone to go out and drink and drive now to get their conviction in ahead of the stiffer penalties. Of course that is ludicrous, but then again climbing behind the wheel of an automobile when you’re impaired is even more stupid than that.

Last night local law enforcement set up an OWI checkpoint. This checkpoint had a twofold purpose. One, to encourage folks not to drink and drive. Two, to catch those that are dumb enough to drink and drive.

As of August 1, that’s Friday by the way, the penalties for driving under the influence will get decidedly stiffer. Some of the new OWI laws have already gone into effect but as of Friday even more penalties await those who choose to be stupid.

Beginning Friday those motorist who face a first or second offense OWI will have those charges automatically placed on their driving record unless or until the department of public safety and corrections receives notice of a final dismissal of charges.  Previously those charges did not go directly on a driving record until the court notified the department.

For multiple offenders, those who have been charged with a fourth offense OWI, there will be mandatory jail time. There is also a provision that will no longer exponge charges after 10 years those convicted of OWI vehicular homicide and negligent injury will no longer have those convictions exempt it will count towards any new charges.

There is never a good reason to get behind the wheel and drive intoxicated. You risk your life and the lives of other innocent people. It’s good to see our state lawmakers tightening the loopholes for those who continue to show such poor judgement.

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