Lafayette City Court handles as many OWI cases as any city court in Louisiana.
The officers who make the majority of OWI arrests are part of the Alcohol Traffic Action Campaign (“ATAC”) and are highly trained, seasoned and well funded. Their cars are equipped with video cameras which record traffic stops and roadside interviews. They have a state-of-the- art bus which they use for sobriety check points, which are held every month are so. The have a command center bus as a backup unit for larger operations. They have a specific room for alcohol testing, complete with more cameras. They show up in court. They know how to testify.
The judges are experienced and learned in the laws and processes of traffic offenses, criminal procedure and the operation of motor vehicles while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. They do their best to be fair and impartial and keep everyone on a tight schedule.
So what gives?
Complicated in its own right, the defense of OWI cases requires a thorough and competent pursuit of needles in various haystacks. Does all of the video exist? Was the radar certified? Is the operator of various machines qualified? If you were arrested, don’t you believe that you would want to know these answers? If would likely mean the difference between guilt and innocense. No small matter!
The part-time prosecutors in City Court don’t just give you this stuff. It is only obtained by kicking, screaming and sometimes losing blood.
Combine this with the multitude of appearance days, you could be in for a long series of lost episodes in your life. Unlike any other jurisdiction that we have practiced in Lafayette City Court has its own unique (that is, not always required by law or statute) calendar days which require appearances: arraignment, file motions, answer motions, trial of motions, not trial indicated (“NTI”), sentencing and review (which can be multiple times). Attendance at any one of these dates can take hours. Get the picture.
So if you have the misfortune of being arrested by Lafayette City Police and want to insist that your rights are really protected, make sure to pray for the patience of Job and tolerance and determination of the Dalai Lama.