BATON ROUGE — Drunk drivers causing fatal crashes may face more prison time.
The Louisiana Senate unanimously passed SB55 to the House, which would classify vehicular homicide as a violent crime if the offender's blood alcohol level is .20 or above.
"What that means is if you're convicted of a crime of violence, you have to do 85 percent of your sentence," Webster Assistant District Attorney Sherb Sentell said. "It changes a judge's and prosecutor's ability to influence the sentencing."
There are 44 crimes of violence as listed in Louisiana Revised Statute 14:2, such as first and second degree murder, rape, kidnapping, aggravated arson and armed robbery.
The legal blood alcohol limit is .08.
Vehicular homicide currently carries a penalty of up to 30 years in prison (a minimum of five) with at least three years to be served without the benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence and up to a $2,000 fine.
If the operator's blood alcohol level is .15 or he has a previous conviction for driving while intoxicated, then at least five years is to be served without benefit.