Navigating the Legislative Highway
By: Carla S. Sigler
Assistant District Attorney, Calcasieu Parish
14th Judicial District Adult Drug & DWI Court Coordinator
DWI Legislation
 SB 277 provides for major changes
 It will not be effective until 1/1/2015
 Essentially, major changes to the law to make it easier
to understand
 It is basically a complete re-organization of LSA-R.S.
14:98, the DWI statute
 It was the product of combined efforts of prosecution,
defense, courts, and others
 After LSA-R.S. 14:98(A), which defines DWI elements
of the offense and still does, the entirety of the statute
is re-organized.
 Current provisions (B) through (K) are being deleted
 The new (B) is going to be the “Child Endangerment
Law” of the DWI statute
 The new (C) will define what to look at to see if the
defendant has prior convictions
 The new (D) will be penalties. It is designed to be
easier to read and follow.
 The new (E) will provide that the legislature finds that
conviction for a third or subsequent operating while
intoxicated offense is “presumptive evidence of the
existence of a substance abuse disorder that poses a
serious threat to the health and safety of the public.
Further, the legislature finds that there are successful
treatment methods available for treatment of addictive
 The new (F) will address vehicle seizure and sale, and
makes it mandatory on third or subsequent conviction
under LSA-R.S. 14:98 if the prosecutor makes a motion
for this
 Major bargaining power for the State
 Exemptions from seizure and sale include a stolen
vehicle, driver of vehicle was not its owner and owner
did not know the driver was driving the vehicle while
intoxicated, and if there is a valid lienholder
 This will create interesting court scenarios
 The new (G) provides that if offender on probation
under this article does not complete required
substance abuse treatment, or violates any other
incarceration conditions, his probation may be
revoked, and he can be ordered to serve the rest of the
sentence of imprisonment without being given credit
for time served on home incarceration
 LSA-R.S. 14:98.1 will become the penalty statute for
operating a vehicle while intoxicated, first offense
 LSA-R.S. 14:98.2 becomes the penalty statute for
operating a vehicle while intoxicated, second offense
 LSA-R.S. 14:98.3 will be the penalty statute for
operating a vehicle while intoxicated, third offense
 LSA-R.S. 14:98.4 contains the penalties for operating a
vehicle while intoxicated, fourth and subsequent
 LSA-R.S. 14:98.5 contains special provisions and
 It states that an offender shall pay the costs of any
substance abuse program, home incarceration, or
driver improvement program, and if such payment is
not made the offender shall be subject to revocation
unless the court determines the person cannot pay
 If there is a conviction for a third or subsequent
offense, and if the court determines that the offender
cannot pay these costs, then the state pays
 On completion of the program or programs in
question, the court can require the defendant to
reimburse the state for all or a portion of the costs
 The court does so via a payment schedule that it
 This does not apply to substance abuse treatment
imposed as a probation condition under LSA-R.S.
14:98.3(B)(2) or LSA-R.S. 14:98.4(B)(3)
 Home incarceration is also addressed by LSA-R.S. 14:98.5
 If there is a felony violation of LSA-R.S. 14:98, the
mandatory minimum sentence the court imposes cannot
be served on home incarceration unless either:
 (1) the Department of Public Safety and Corrections (via
Probation and Parole) recommends the defendant’s home
incarceration and specific conditions for it;
 (2) The District Attorney recommends home incarceration.
More conditions of LSA-R.S.
 Lots
of exceptions and conditions for home
incarceration; read them thoroughly
 For instance, special conditions the court must impose
include: (a) electronic monitoring (unless less than 5
days of home incarceration ordered on a first or
second conviction); (b) curfew restrictions; (c)
employment must be obtained; (d) participation in
court-approved driver improvement program, if not
already a condition of probation; and (e) activities
outside of the home specifically limited to work,
church, etc.
More LSA-R.S. 14:85
 Ignition interlock devices addressed
 Community service activities defined
 Again, lots of conditions so make sure your sentences
comply with it
LSA-R.S. 14:85 conditions
 If offender is convicted of a second violation of an
operating while intoxicated crime committed within 5
years of the commission of any prior such offense, he is
not eligible for home incarceration until he has served
48 consecutive hours minimum of imprisonment
 If the offender is on probation for a third or
subsequent offense or a second offense of LSA-R.S.
 LSA-R.S. 14:98.6 is now the offense of underage
operating while intoxicated
 Blood alcohol limit for minors is still .02 percent or
more per 100 cc of blood if the operator is under age 21
 This statute has the penalties for underage operating
listed in it
 LSA-R.S. 14:98.7 is unlawful refusal to submit to
chemical tests and penalties for it
 LSA-R.S. 14:98.8 is operating a vehicle while under
suspension for certain prior offenses
Why choose Drug or DWI Court?
 Under LSA-R.S. 14:98.3 (third offense operating while
intoxicated penalties), there is a mandatory minimum
term of imprisonment of one year with or without
hard labor which cannot be suspended unless offender
is accepted into a Drug Court Program
 Under LSA-R.S. 14:98.4 (fourth offense), there is a
mandatory minimum of two years of imprisonment
unless offender is accepted into Drug Court Program
(exception: third or subsequent with prior
participation in such a program)
Other notable DWI law change
 HB 511; there is no longer a ten-year cleansing period
for convictions of vehicular homicide and first degree
vehicular negligent injuring; a conviction for either
one now counts as a prior conviction no matter what
date it occurred relative to the current crime
 Effective date: August 1, 2014
Changes to Drug Court Legislation
 Act No. 377, impacted LSA-R.S. 13:5304(B)
 Effective date: August 1, 2014
 A defendant with a prior felony conviction for a
defined crime of violence (listed in LSA-R.S. 14:2),
except for a homicide, is now eligible for Drug Court
 The crime currently before the court cannot be a
defined crime of violence listed in LSA-R.S. 14:2, or an
offense of domestic abuse battery punishable by
imprisonment at hard labor as provided by LSA-R.S.
What stayed the same?
 No pending criminal proceedings against the
defendant alleging a crime of violence
 Crime before the court cannot be one of driving under
the influence of alcohol or any other drug that resulted
in a person’s death
Exceptions discussed
 No prior homicide convictions pursuant to LSA-R.S.
 That means no convictions for first degree murder,
second degree murder, manslaughter, negligent
homicide, and vehicular homicide
 LSA-R.S. 14:35.3 hard labor sentence is a third
conviction or fourth or subsequent conviction for
domestic abuse battery
 List of violent crimes in LSA-R.S. 14:2: Check the
current version of the statute; proposed changes and
changes to it every year
What does this mean for us?
 A greater potential client base
 More people we can try to help
 Countervailing concerns: screen very carefully when
you put someone with a prior violent conviction in
your program
 Be prepared to justify your reasons
 Public safety and perception of your program will be
an even greater concern
Miscellaneous laws of import
 HB 1020---licenses plates can now be removed on
motor vehicles driven by persons with suspended or
revoked driver’s licenses (effective date August 1, 2014)
 HB 364---driver’s license is suspended for 24 months
for those convicted of DWI 2ND (effective date August
1, 2014)
 Length of suspension is dependent on number of
priors within last 10 years
 Vehicular negligent injuring is treated like a DWI
More laws
 HB 370---drivers cannot use certain cellular devices
during school zones (effective date August 1, 2014)
 Requires posting of a sign in the school zone
 There are multiple exceptions to law, including
emergencies and “hands free” devices
 Applies to calls, texts, and emails
 HB 150; amended LSA-R.S. 32:57, the careless
operation statute, to provide for 250 hours of courtapproved community service and a potential driver’s
license suspension of 2 years when careless operation
of a motor vehicle proximately or directly causes a
human being’s death when the operator fails to
maintain control of the vehicle due to falling asleep
 Effective date: August 1, 2014
 HB 1024; now there are enhanced penalties for
violations of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous
Substances Law when the offense occurs on any
property used by a school for its activities, or within
2,000 feet of it
 Effective date: August 1, 2014
Controlled dangerous substances
 HB 229; added 15 substances to the Schedule I
controlled dangerous substances list
Effective date: August 1, 2014
HB 212; added new substances to Schedule II, III, & IV
Effective date: August 1, 2014
HB 514; prohibits the sale, purchase, or attempt to
purchase products containing dextromethorphan by
minors (these are non-prescription products)
Effective date: August 1, 2014
Probation and Parole
 HB 1257; State entitled to contradictory hearing for
probation termination/modification if it wants one
 Effective date: August 1, 2014
 Before this statute was enacted, State often did not
know of changes/termination of probation
Re-entry courts
 HB 274; authorizes the 1st and 26th Judicial District
Courts to establish re-entry courts
 Effective date: August 1, 2014
 Statute now allows re-entry courts in the 1st, 11th, 15th,
19th, 22nd, 24th, 26th, and Orleans Criminal District
Veteran’s Courts
 SB 532; authorizes creation of Veteran’s Courts
 LSA-R.S. 13:5361 et seq.
 Effective date: August 1, 2014
 Modeled after the Drug Court statutes, so a familiar
methodology to implement

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