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  • How many for a felony

    One month ago, the Eastex Freeway: An allegedly very drunk driver is accused of killing a mother and daughter in a horrific smash-up.

    Police learned he’d already had three previous DWI convictions.

    Two years ago, north Harris County: A man runs off a neighborhood street and hits Geneva Tijerina as she’s sitting on a tailgate, talking to friends.

    Her mother remembers the funeral.

    “They did a really good job on trying to remake her face because he had smashed it, literally just crushed it,” Ruth Tijerina said.

    In this case, the driver had an even longer rap sheet: six previous DWIs.

    “It’s, I guess it is our fault as a society because we allow it to happen,” Tijernia said. “They’re not following through on penalties.

    The penalty she’s talking about is the Texas three strikes DWI law: The third arrest means a felony charge. Felony as in prison, loss of voting rights and public humiliation.

    But look what 11 News found when we asked the county to provide records showing what really happens.

    In the past two years in Harris County alone, police charged more than 1,900 drivers with felony DWI.

    Yet, 492 of the cases, a quarter of them, were reduced to misdemeanors.

    Ignacio Gomez’s case was one of them: His third DWI felony was reduced to a misdemeanor just 18 months before the crash on the Eastex Freeway.

    James Hollin was convicted of felony DWI in 2001, but got probation—not prison.

    He violated that, spent part of a four year sentence in prison, got out early and in 2004, killed Geneva Tijerina.

    “At some point, they need to be locked away,” prosecutor John Bradley said.

    So why aren’t they?

    Bradley is considered one the toughest prosecutors in the state when it comes to drunk driving.

    “Your chronic DWI offender, the person who has two or more prior arrests for DWI, has completely learned how to work the system,” Bradley said. He did some research and found that in Harris County, some 70 percent of multiple offenders refuse to give a Breathalyzer or blood test. It’s optional under Texas law.

    Not having that scientific evidence can make a felony charge tough to prove.

    Warren Diepraam has prosecuted some of Harris County’s biggest drunk driving cases.

    He said Texas needs to make blood alcohol tests mandatory, and a proposed law in Austin would do just that for drivers with two priors.

    “Just like we’d get DNA from a rapist, we’re going to get a blood sample from a drunk driver,” Diepraam said.

    But hold on say defense attorneys.

    Attorney Gerald Graber sauid mandatory blood sampling is too extreme and that walk-a-straight-line tests are enough.

    “The can see how he’s standing, if he’s swaying,” Graber said.

    But here’s the thing: No county in America has more people die in drunk driving accidents than Harris County.

    The mother of Geneva Tijerina wonders if it’s because the system really doesn’t take drunk driving seriously.

    In lieu of a law making alcohol tests mandatory for repeat offenders, the Houston Police Department is now working with the D.A.’s office on a pilot program.

    If a driver refuses the test, the D.A.’s office will get an emergency search warrant, forcing the driver to submit to a blood alcohol test.

    http://www.khou.com/topstories/stori....21eb523d.html
    ‘Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.’
    Oscar Wilde

  • #2
    In Nebraska 4th offense is felony. However rarely, at least in my county, does it result in time at the "box". In my county, that I know of, I have at least 15-20 4th time and over DUI'ers. One guy I know of has 7. It's just a matter of time until someone kills somebody up here like Harris County. Then blame us for not getting them off the road, when the real blame needs to be the county attorney for plee agreements and bargining. I've had a 3rd offense be plead to reckless because the CA's office needing something on another case with the same guy in a week. Total tora caca.
    Sometimes, doing the right thing means p***ing off the bosses.

    "And shepherds we shall be, for thee my lord for thee."

    Originally posted by dontknowwhy
    I still think troopers and deputies who work in the middle of no where with essentially no back up are the 'men among men' of the LEO world.
    Originally posted by weinerdog2000
    as far as your social experiment, if we cant film you then you cant film us, we will arrest you for obstruction of our freedom.

    Comment


    • #3
      In Texas the third DWI is a felony. Which means they start over on punishment. Back to probation usually. Rarely will anyone go to the pen around these parts until the fifth or sixth DWI conviction.
      Then it will draw a four year sentence which means they're back within a year.

      Comment


      • #4
        In Missouri the 3rd is a felony by law. In reality: 1st DWI is plead to a lesser charge and they go to school +probation, 2nd DWI arrest becomes the first DWI conviction so the third arrest is in reality at least their 4th. I love the court system
        A Veteran is someone who at one point in their life wrote a blank check made payable to The United States of America, for an amount up to, and including their life. That is honor, and there are way too many people in this country today, who no longer understand that fact!

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        • #5
          Three priors w/in 10 years makes it a felony here and we do force blood draws for uncooperative prisoners who refuse to give a sample. The problem is that there can be all kinds of laws on the books, but until a DA actually agressively prosecutes crimes there will be no message sent to the public. The courts and DA are so overburdened that the majority of all cases are plea bargained down to lesser crimes. I have arrested suspects on 6 felony charges and had the DA offer a plea of 1 felony with no time......pretty common. It takes some media coverage or a pretty horrific crime for something to be aggressively prosecuted usually.

          In my opinion...... first DUI is a misd. All others after that are felony with mandatory time served. The first one is a mistake(not really but well call it that)......any more is a blatant attempt to kill or maim someone. If you are not smart enough to not drink and drive a second time then you are not smart enough to be in our society for a while.

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          • #6
            Unless the rules have changed in Nevada, the third and any subsequent DUI within seven years is a felony, and it doesn't matter where the first two were. Everybody gives a chemical test, even on the first offense. If you refuse to give breath or blood, blood is taken by force, if necessary. Cases are only plead down when the evidence doesn't support the charge. First offense is 48 hours community service or jail, minimum $300 fine, 90 day license revocation, mandatory attendance at a victim impact panel, and DUI school. Second offense is 10 days in jail (no community service), minimum fine of $500, and a year license revocation. On the third one, it's one to six years Nevada State Prison, a $2000 fine, and a six year license revocation. There's no probation available for any of these. First offenders regularly opt for community service, but second and third offenders go in the box.

            If you get caught driving on a DUI-revoked license, the minimum penalty is 30 days in jail, a $500 fine, and another year of revocation. All revocations run consecutively. Again, there's no probation available, although it is possible to get a "work permit" license once half the total revocation period has run.

            I can't say that this has drastically reduced the number of DUIs in Nevada, although there has been some reduction since this structure was put in place in 1983. Before that, DUI was an expensive traffic ticket, and double-digit offenders were fairly common. But most drunk drivers either think they're okay to drive, don't think they'll get caught, or just don't care. I got one guy that had fourteen previous convictions around the country. I tried to warn him at booking of the consequences of driving while his privilege was revoked (he didn't have a license to revoke). He looked me in the eye and and said, "You can't keep me from driving whenever I want." And, except for the time he was in jail, he was right.
            Tim Dees, now writing as a plain old forum member, his superpowers lost to an encounter with gold kryptonite.

            Comment


            • #7
              How many for a felony?

              In Alabama, Mothers Against Drunk Driving has had some impact on the DUI laws. It's theoretically impossible to deal a DUI down to Reckless, but as we all know, there are ways around that. Under the Alabama Implied Consent Law, any refusal to submit to an approved chemical or blood test results in a 90 day suspension of your driver's license. Will this stop an individual from driving? In most cases no, and that's precisely where the problem lies. It's hard to say what is needed to make the sanctions work. While I personally favor imprisonment for long periods of time, that in itself, is usually not going to adequately address the problem.

              Comment


              • #8
                I think most of us would agree that 1st offense should be a misd. while someone that show's a complete disregard and is a repeat DUI offender should face harsher sentencing. While often 1st offense show a lack of forethought and common sense, I can understand that good people make bad choices and get one.

                Perhaps a federal DUI law?
                Sometimes, doing the right thing means p***ing off the bosses.

                "And shepherds we shall be, for thee my lord for thee."

                Originally posted by dontknowwhy
                I still think troopers and deputies who work in the middle of no where with essentially no back up are the 'men among men' of the LEO world.
                Originally posted by weinerdog2000
                as far as your social experiment, if we cant film you then you cant film us, we will arrest you for obstruction of our freedom.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The law just recently changed here in Michigan. 3rd time has always been a felony, and it used to go back 7 years for the previous two offenses. Now if your nailed for a 3rd offense, it goes back for a lifetime. Meaning if you have had two priors at any time, the 3rd is a felony.

                  Hope I explained that ok, couldn't really get it out right.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    In Kentucky, the fourth offense in 5 years is a felony. That assumes three prior convictions, not just 3 prior charges. A class D felony is 1-5 years in prison.
                    My posts are sometimes educated, sometimes informed, and sometimes blowing smoke...but they are mine and mine alone and do not reflect on anyone else (especially my employer).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by CODE-30 View Post
                      The law just recently changed here in Michigan. 3rd time has always been a felony, and it used to go back 7 years for the previous two offenses. Now if your nailed for a 3rd offense, it goes back for a lifetime. Meaning if you have had two priors at any time, the 3rd is a felony.

                      Hope I explained that ok, couldn't really get it out right.
                      You did just fine!
                      "Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything!"-Wyatt Earp

                      "You never know when crazy will show up!"-Irishdep

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