A Texas man convicted on Sept. 25 of his third drunk driving offense since 2004 decided to let the jury hearing his case determine his fate. This is a decision he is likely to regret. A Galveston County jury could have sentenced the man to 25 years in prison, but they chose to hand down a life sentence instead. The man will become eligible for parole after he has served 15 years of his sentence, according to the Galveston District Attorney's Office.
Officers from the Santa Fe Police Department say that they discovered the man asleep in his SUV. They say that the vehicle was found in a bar parking lot with its engine running. Officers had been dispatched to the area after concerned motorists had called 911 about an erratic driver. They told emergency operators about an SUV swerving across the center line and narrowly avoiding an oncoming car.
Police say that they noticed several empty beer bottles littered inside and around the SUV. They also claim that the man was combative when roused and showed signs of intoxication including watery eyes. Reports indicate that a warrant was then issued to draw a sample of the man's blood. The ensuing toxicology test revealed his blood alcohol concentration to be .134 percent, nearly twice the legal limit.
Experienced criminal defense attorneys may caution their clients against gambling with their futures by letting a jury decide their sentence. Criminal litigators with decades of courtroom experience can still be surprised by juries. Judges and prosecutors are generally far more predictable.
Source: The Houston Chronicle, "Third strike DWI conviction earns Galveston County man a life sentence", Julian Gill, Sept. 28, 2018
Source: KPRC Houston, "Man sentenced to life in prison after most-recent DWI arrest", Staff report, Sept. 27, 2018