In our last post, we discussed some of the issues Texas lawmakers are debating regarding the penalties for driving while intoxicated. In the face of statistical evidence of the increasing number of DWI crashes — as well as a persistent number of multiple DWI offenders — some believe that a new approach may be in order.
However, until lawmakers agree on new ways to achieve DWI deterrence, as well as rehabilitation for offenders, drivers convicted for a repeat DWI offense will be facing potentially long prison terms and large monetary fines.
The recent sentencing of a Texas DWI offender shows just how harsh the current punishments can be. The 49-year-old driver was arrested and convicted for his fourth DWI. In addition, the man also had several other criminal convictions on his record, related to various offenses. After considering the totality of the man’s DWI and criminal history, the judge sentenced him to 30 years in prison. Given the man’s age, some readers might regard that term as essentially a life sentence.
The case is notable for another reason, as well. During his arrest, police requested the man take a sobriety test. The man exercised his right of refusal. Texas’ implied consent law attached penalties to drivers who refuse to take a breath test, such as license suspension. In addition, refusing to submit to a chemical test will usually not prevent police from arresting a driver for DWI. In this case, however, authorities obtained a blood sample from the man, despite his refusal, because he was a repeat DWI offender.
Source: kwtx.com, “Central Texas Man Gets Long Sentence For Fourth DWI,” March 23, 2013