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First-time offenders could get interlock device

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BATON ROUGE- The federal government wants to mandate interlock devices for all first-time drunken drivers.

The device prevents a car from starting if the driver has a detectable level of alcohol on their breath.

Right now, Louisiana doesn't require the device for first-time offenders, but in Baton Rouge, first-time drunken drivers can opt for a pretrial diversion program, which does require the device.

East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore says the program is curbing repeat offenders thanks to the device.

"That's compared to pleading guilty straight up without a lot of consequences, when you impose all these consequences, including an interlock device, the recidivism rate is extremely low," said Moore.

Some people think the consequences are already heavy enough for first-time offenders, and interlock devices should be saved for offenders with a repeat problem.

"The process of getting a DWI from start to finish is extremely expensive and burdensome right now and it should deter anyone from drinking, the best way to avoid getting a DWI is absolutely not to drink while you're driving," said Drew Louviere, a defense attorney who specializes in DWI law.

The push comes on the heels of the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign. Last year 830 people were killed by drunken drivers during the holiday season.


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