It is widely known that being arrested in Texas for for driving while intoxicated (DWI) is not a walk in the park. As pointed out on the website of Mark T. Lassiter, the laws are stringent and the penalties are high. However, there seems to be a softening of attitude in Texas courts, at least in Collin County, where instead of locking them up and throwing away the key, some defendants convicted of DWI may be eligible for alternative programs in lieu of incarceration.
But that will not apply to drunk drivers who leave the scene of a crime.
A man with a blood alcohol content (BAC) that was three times more than the legal limit caused the death of a 56-year-old man and injuries of another driver when he crashed into the deceased’s car and causing the third driver to crash into them. He left the scene of the crime, but was later found passed out about half a mile away. That was two years ago. He was sentenced to 18 years in jail.
DWI is a serious crime in itself, but leaving the scene of the crime makes it even worse. However, there are many ways that a person’s actions can be interpreted, each of which are equally probable and hard to prove. For example, in the case above, the defendant was found half a mile away from the scene of the crime. The obvious conclusion is that he was fleeing the scene to avoid getting arrested. It is also possible that the man was confused and disoriented and had simply wandered away. This puts a different complexion on the matter.
Later investigation revealed, however, that the defendant had in fact left the scene of a crime on a previous occasion. This supports the first interpretation.
The point is, not everything is as it seems, especially when there are no independent witnesses to a crime. It is mostly a matter of interpretation by the arresting officer. The first thing a good criminal defense lawyer would do is to consider the past history of the defendant and explore every angle to provide a client with the best possible interpretation of the facts of a case.