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Thomas Robert Harter of New Orleans Jumped Off Bridge to Avoid 8th DWI

Harter
St Tammany Parish Sheriff

A Causeway police officer pulled over 44 year-old Thomas Robert Harter because he was swerving and speeding in a car as he crossed the Causeway bridge over Lake Pontchartrain near New Orleans about 5:40 p.m. Sunday.

Harter got out of his car wearing a green St. Patrick’s Day necklace, with his hands in the air.

The officer started conducting a field-sobriety test and the DWI suspect ran to the edge of the bridge and jumped off into the water below.

They found him holding the base of the bridge about 20 feet below, threw him a life preserver and pulled him to safety.

Harter now faces charges of DWI which is his 8th, resisting arrest, and carless driving.

Oh, just a couple more things. He also has outstanding warrants for a hit-and-run and reckless driving. One previous arrest was in Pennsylvania in 1992, while the others were in Louisiana in 1999, 2001, 2002, 2007, and 2009.

DWI convictions stay on a driver’s record for 10 years in the state of Louisiana. Because of that, Thomas Robert Harter was charged with third-offense DWI (the latest, 2007, and 2009).

If convicted, he faces a two-year license suspension and the possible confiscation of his vehicle under Louisiana law.

I always thought they sent you to Angola after four convictions. Oh well, I can’t wait to see how this all ends up. I’ll keep you posted.

Consequences of a DWI conviction in Louisiana

 

DWI First Offense (Misdemeanor)

Fine: $300-$1,000 (plus court costs and other fees)
Jail: 10 days to 6 months (all can be suspended except as set forth below)
Community Service: 32 hours
Substance Abuse Evaluation and Driver Improvement School Required.
If BAC over .15: Minimum mandatory 48 hours jail.
License Suspension: 90 days

DWI Second Offense (Misdemeanor)

Fine: $750-$1,000 (plus court costs and other fees)
Jail: 30 days to 6 months (all but 48 hours can be suspended)
Community Service: 240 hours
Substance Abuse Evaluation and Driver Improvement School Required.
BAC .15 or more: Minimum mandatory 96 hours in jail.
Driver’s License Suspension: 1 year

DWI Second Offense when the prior conviction is for Vehicular Homicide or First Degree Vehicular Injuring (Felony)

Fine: Mandatory $2,000 (plus court costs and other fees)
Jail: 1 to 5 years (all but 6 months can be suspended)
Community Service: 240 hours
Substance Abuse Evaluation and Driver Improvement School Required
Driver’s License Suspension: 1 year

DWI Third Offense (Felony)

Fine: Mandatory $2,000
Jail: 1 to 5 years (all but 6 months can be suspended)
Substance Abuse Evaluation and Driver Improvement School Required
Vehicle: Mandatory seizure and sale of the vehicle being operated at the time of arrest with the proceeds forfeited to the State.
Driver’s License Suspension: 2 years

DWI Fourth Offense (Felony)

Fine: Mandatory $5,000 fine
Jail: 10 to 30 years (all but 2 years can be suspended on a first conviction for DWI Fourth Offense)
Vehicle: Mandatory seizure and sale of the vehicle being operated at the time of arrest with the proceeds forfeited to the State.
Driver’s License Suspension: 2 years

 

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