Gonzales man convicted of sixth-offense DWI

An Ascension Parish jury has convicted a Gonzales man on a sixth charge of driving while intoxicated.

The defendant was accused of nearly hitting a parish sheriff’s lieutenant during a 2010 drunken-driving episode that occurred while the man was on probation for a prior DWI conviction, prosecutors said Wednesday.

District Judge Alvin Turner Jr. last week deferred sentencing of Paul Naquin Jr., 48, 729 S. Sammy St., Gonzales, after 12 jurors deliberated 21/2 hours
before finding Naquin guilty Friday, prosecutors with the 23rd Judicial District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.

The 23rd Judicial District encompasses Ascension, Assumption and St. James parishes.

Naquin, now awaiting the outcome of a pre-sentence investigation, remained in Ascension Parish Prison in Donaldsonville on Wednesday with bail set at $100,000.

Because state law does not list fifth- or sixth-offense DWI charges, prosecutors said, Naquin was convicted on a count of fourth- or subsequent-offense DWI.

Conviction on that count means Naquin faces a sentence of between 10 and 30 years in prison and a $5,000 fine, but a judge may suspend all but two years in prison time with probation.

Prosecutors accused Naquin of removing his home incarceration ankle bracelet for probation on his third-offense
DWI conviction and driving under the influence on May 9, 2010.

The sheriff’s lieutenant, who had been standing next to his vehicle on the road when Naquin passed him, followed Naquin home to his driveway 90 yards away. The lieutenant saw Naquin was intoxicated and later arrested him, prosecutors said.

At trial in the Ascension Parish Courthouse Annex in Gonzales on Jan. 16 and Friday, Assistant District Attorney Joni Buquoi presented evidence of three of Naquin’s five prior DWI convictions, prosecutors said.

Buquoi said Wednesday that Turner had ruled that presenting evidence of Naquin’s fourth and fifth drunken-driving convictions could inflame and prejudice jurors, while the added information they carried did not serve a legal purpose in prosecuting a fourth- or subsequent-offense DWI charge.

Buquoi said defense attorneys had stipulated to Naquin’s three previous DWI convictions.