A Killeen woman was sentenced to 3 years probation in the 27th Judicial District after attempting to evade arrest with a minor child in the vehicle.
The officer who conducted the stop stated that he turned on his lights and sirens and honked at the woman but she failed to immediately stop. The woman told an investigating officer that she didn't stop because she didn't want to stop. The officer reported that he could see the driver of the vehicle look into the rearview mirror at his patrol car. She eventually pulled into a driveway and stopped.
According to arrest affidavits, officers noted that when they spoke with the woman they noticed slurred speech and the odor of alcohol. The child in the vehicle was under age 15. A blood sample sent to the state crime lab measured her blood alcohol level (BAC) level at 0.26. The legal limit in Texas is 0.8.
The woman was sentenced to three years probation on each of her charges with the sentences to run concurrently.
Aggravating and Mitigating Factors and DWI Sentencing
Even a first DWI charge can carry serious consequences that can affect a person's career and reputation. There are many aggravating factors that can make matters much worse and turn what would be a misdemeanor DWI case into a felony. Aggravating factors include the following:
- Fleeing from police. Law enforcement must generally indicate that they are trying to stop a driver (usually by turning on the lights and sirens in a patrol car) for the state to sustain a charge of evading arrest.
- Driving while intoxicated with a child in the vehicle.
- Prior DWI convictions. Prior convictions can greatly enhance a potential sentence.
- Causing an accident involving injury or death as a result of being intoxicated. Causing an injury or death in a drunk driving accident can subject a defendant to charges of intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter.
These factors can greatly enhance the potential penalties you could face if you are caught driving while intoxicated.
A court may also consider mitigating factors, such as the following:
- No prior criminal history
- Being polite and cooperative with police. You are not required to incriminate yourself—and this includes your right to refuse to perform field sobriety tests—but it is a good idea to pull over immediately and avoid acting disruptive or resisting an arrest if you are suspected of driving while intoxicated.
- Non-dangerous driving conduct. If you were stopped for defective equipment such as a tail light that went out rather than a driving violation like weaving or for causing an accident, this can be a mitigating factor regarding your level of impairment.
- Low BAC level. If your BAC level was close to the legal limit, it may be possible to argue that you were not intoxicated at the time you were driving since alcohol can take time to absorb into your system if you had a drink shortly before driving.
If you have been charged with a DWI it is important to contact an experienced DWI attorney right away. Whether your case involves aggravating or mitigating factors, it may be possible to avoid jail time. Doug Murphy is a board certified DWI criminal defense attorney who can help you fight your case. Even if your case involves several aggravating factors, it may be possible for you to obtain a dismissal or not guilty verdict or avoid time in jail or prison.