Drunken driving consequences severe

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 22, 2005

By Caleb Frey

Staff Reporter

LAPLACE — As the holidays approach, a time of celebration can easily turn into trouble or even tragedy if you choose to drive while under the influence of alcohol.

According to information received from Capt. Sid Berthelot with the St. James Parish Police Dept., a first time offender convicted of Driving While Intoxicated (D.W.I.) receives a fine anywhere from $300-$1000 and 10 days to six months in jail.

A second offense will get the person convicted a fine of $750-$1000 and 30 days to six months in jail.

A third offense conviction carries a fine of $2000 and one to five years in jail.

Depending on the severity of the circumstances involving a drunk driving conviction, the person will have their license suspended anywhere from 90 days to two years, multiple fines and court costs as well as possibly having the car used during the offense seized, impounded and sold.

In addition to paying fines and serving time, a convicted drunk driver can expect an increase in their insurance premiums.

A sales representative from Sean Doody Insurance, a State Farm Agency, said that they couldn’t insure a person convicted of drunk driving for a period of five years.

In addition, any person currently insured through State Farm that is convicted of a D.W.I. will be dropped from the agency.

An agent from Waguespack Insurance in LaPlace, an independent insurance agency, said that a person convicted of a D.W.I. can expect to see a 25-50 percent increase in their premiums and that most major companies have no market for non-standard policies.

A non-standard insurance company is not rated with the Louisiana Insurance Guarantee Association (L.I.G.S.), which bases its rates on the financial strength of the company and the number of years it has been in business.

Progressive Insurance Co. offers non-standard insurance for those convicted, however the increase over a standard policy is substantial.

So for all these reasons and more, when preparing to hit the town this holiday season be sure to designate a driver and stay safe.