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Lafourche Parish seat belt stop leads to felony DWI charge

Officials in Lafourche Parish claim that a man stopped for an alleged seat belt violation told deputies that his dog had eaten the safety belt. But, like many so-called routine traffic stops, the allegations that arose after the man pulled over have left the man facing potential prison time.

The Thibodaux, Louisiana, man was stopped for the alleged seat belt violation, but is now facing a felony charge for alleged drunk driving. During the conversation with the driver, deputies claim that the man showed indicia of possible impairment. Law enforcement claims that the driver admitted to having had a drink, and pulled out an open liquor bottle to show it to the deputies.

Authorities claim that a breath test returned a reading of 0.104 percent blood alcohol concentration, which is above the per se legal limit of intoxication set at 0.08 percent BAC under Louisiana law.

Officials say that the man has prior DWI offenses. He was processed at the Lafourche Parish Detention Center on suspicion of DWI-third offense, a seat belt violation and a charge for open bottle. Bail was set at $50, 150.

Any DWI charge in Louisiana can bring harsh consequences. But, when authorities accuse a person of a DWI-third offense, the potential consequences are greatly enhanced. A repeat offender charged for a third time DWI is accused of a felony level offense under Louisiana law.

Our Baton Rouge area readers may not be aware that repeat DWI offenses may result in mandatory minimum sentences upon a conviction of the charge. The statutes set a mandatory minimum sentence of at least one year for a DWI third conviction.

Source: WTKR, “Man arrested for 3rd DWI after telling deputy his dog ate his seat belt," Doris Taylor, Sept. 18, 2013

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