Leesville, LA- Stronger DUI laws for Louisiana just went into effect the first of the year, but state officials think more can be done to keep drunk drivers off the road.

In a forum hosted by the Acadiana Press Club, officials including judges and wardens discussed different ways they can combat drunk and drugged driving in the state.

One measure would be to develop a statewide database for DUI arrests, a proposal that has been introduced before. Without a statewide database, law enforcement officials and judges are unable to determine if a DUI offender has faced the same charge in a different parish, the Advocate reported. 

Law enforcement officials also said more needed to be done to keep repeat offenders off the road and ending the culture of DUI tolerance in a state where people can get an alcoholic drink at a drive-through.

Officials who participated in the forum include Lafayette City Court Judge Douglas Saloom, Lafayette Parish Correctional Center Warden Rob Reardon; John LeBlanc, executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission; Jacob Corbell, director of specialty programs for the 15th Judicial District Court, according to the Advocate.

Louisiana, like many states are taking steps to get tougher on drunk drivers. Changes to the state’s DUI laws went into effect on January 1st which increased jail terms for a first DUI from a maximum of 10 days to 6 months.

While a jail term is not compulsory and something DUI offenders may be able to avoid with a savvy Louisiana DUI attorney working on their defense, convicted offenders will have to serve at least 32 hours doing community service. Attendance in a driver improvement course and substance abuse program is compulsory.

In addition to those penalties, a driver will have their license suspended or be required to install an ignition interlock device in their car. A DUI conviction also carries costly financial penalties and fines which can easily total in the thousands.

But the financial impact doesn’t end there, a DUI conviction will cause a person’s insurance premiums to skyrocket. Then there are the costs of installing an ignition interlock in their vehicles, paying to have their license reinstated and lost time at work. Some people find it difficult to keep their jobs or find new ones with the DUI conviction on their record.

A DUI charge should not be taken lightly, there is far too much at risk to ignore your legal dilemma because it isn’t going to simply go away. And hoping a judge won’t give you a stiff penalty is a mistake you’ll find yourself paying for years to come.

Any person facing a first of repeat DUI charge should contact Leesville DUI attorney Wes Bailey as soon as they are able. The longer you give your Mr. Bailey to work on your defense, the better of you will be whether you decide to go for a plea bargain or take your case to court. He has helped many clients avoid the harsher penalties of a DUI.