Texas Drunk Driver Faces Unusual Probation Terms

Last June, 20-year-old Aaron Pennywell was killed after a drunk driver - 39-year-old Michael Giacona - ran a red light and hit him. Pennywell, who was thrown from his car by the impact of the crash, was pronounced dead when paramedics arrived at the scene shortly thereafter.

There is nothing out of the ordinary about this accident - this scene is played out time and time again on roads around the country. What was unusual, however, is how Giacona was treated by the judge presiding over his case.

After serving a 90-day prison sentence for driving while intoxicated (DWI), Giacona was placed on probation for two years. In addition to being required to wear an ankle monitoring device, Harris County Court-at-Law Judge Michael Fields also required that Giacona stand at the scene of the accident holding a sign that read "I killed Aaron Coy Pennywell" from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on four consecutive Saturdays.

Another term of Giacona's probation requires him to display a framed photograph of Pennywell in his home.

Although the term of his probation may be unusual, Judge Fields said that drastic measures were necessary to address the gravity of the accident Giacona caused.

"You make me nervous, and the reason you make me nervous is I believe what the witnesses said about your behavior that evening: That you were, even after killing someone, still looking to get more alcohol. This is not your first DWI," he said in a hearing.

The Importance of a DWI Attorney

Being charged with a DWI is a serious matter that you shouldn't take lightly. If you're charged with a DWI, you can lose your license, as well as face jail time and hefty fines. In order to help you navigate the complexities of your DWI case, it is best to consult with a Texas criminal defense attorney with experience handling these kinds of cases.

Although many criminal defense attorneys will take a DWI case, if they don't have experience, they may not know the idiosyncrasies involved in these cases - including knowing how to challenge blood testing, chemical testing and breathalyzers results.

What to Look for in a DWI Attorney

Before hiring a DWI attorney, you should consider:

  • how many DWI cases the attorney has defended
  • how much of the case the attorney will actually handle
  • how fees are calculated
  • how much knowledge the attorney has about things like the requirements for breathalyzers and traffic laws

If you have been charge with DWI, it is important to protect your rights. Speak to an attorney to discuss your situation, learn about your legal options and help you build a strong defense.