News 2 Investigates: DWI and Still Driving, Part 2
BATON ROUGE - Thousands of people with DWI's are still allowed to drive, even though law requires the suspension of an offender's license.
Over the last two years, a News 2 investigation found more than 6,000 people were allowed to drive, even though they met criteria for license suspensions. Laws were changed this year to prevent that from happening, but not everyone believes the laws are good for Louisiana.
"What they've done in this case is stripped you of all your rights," Defense Lawyer Glynn Delatte said.
Current State law requires anyone who refuses a breath test or blows over .08 to have their license suspended. When an offender is arrested, they can request an administrative hearing to continue driving. Often times, the officer doesn't show up, which automatically allows the accused offender to keep driving. That now stops. The law no longer requires the officer to show up making it next to impossible to get your license back.
"We have a bunch of paper with a bunch of allegations, and we can't question anybody and it's scary," Delatte said. "It's a scary turn in the law."
Delatte and some of his partners at his law firm are challenging it. They are filing a declaratory judgment in the 19th Judicial District Court. They want a judge to decide if it's constitutional since the state doesn't require your accuser to appear at these administrative hearings.
"The problem with the process is your putting the general public with the mindset that it's a waste of your time requesting this hearing, so just go ahead and go under suspension," he said.
Defense lawyers say another problem is that the state wants to apply the law retroactively. That means the law can apply to people who were arrested before the law took effect on August 1.