DWI bill gets committee nod

Penalties would go up dramatically in vehicular homicide cases involving accidents in which two or more people die under a bill headed to the Senate floor.

The Senate Committee on Judiciary C approved the measure Tuesday under which the offender would be sentence separately for each victim. In addition, the sentences would run consecutively.

Senate Bill 148 would also include the unborn who dies along with a pregnant woman as a feticide victim. The feticide provision was added in committee.

“Every human life has value,” said state Sen. Yvonne Dorsey Colomb, D-Baton Rouge.

“The lives of those need to remain individual because it is just and fair for the victim who passed away and the family of those who passed away,” she said.

Today, people convicted of vehicular homicide would be fined not less than $2,000 or more than $15,000 and imprisoned for not lesss than five years nor more than 30 years. If the driver’s blood alcohol concentration is 0.15, at least five years of the sentence would be imposed without benefit or probation, parole or suspension of sentence. The court would also require the offender to participate in a court-approved substance abuse program and could require court approved drive improvement program participation.

Dorsey Colomb’s bill would mean longer sentences for those who commit the crime of vehicular homicide as the victims are treated individually and sentences run consecutively instead of being allowed to run concurrently.