A jury has found a Sunland Park man guilty of intoxication manslaughter after an accident in 2017 caused fatal injuries for a 33-year-old El Paso nurse. The man struck a stop sign, which fell and struck the victim.
Prosecutors told the jury that the man stepped on the gas instead of the brake pedal because he was intoxicated. The man's blood alcohol content (BAC) level was tested at 0.17 after the accident. The legal limit in Texas -- as in all U.S. states apart from Utah -- is 0.08. Prosecutors played video of the man failing sobriety tests for the jury and introduced into evidence receipts showing alcohol purchases from the time shortly before the accident.
The man's public defender argued that the area was inherently dangerous due to construction and the number of pedestrians. The attorney also argued that his client could have become more intoxicated as the alcohol had a chance to be absorbed into his system because the field sobriety tests were administered over 45 minutes after the crash occurred.
The jury was faced with deciding whether to convict the man of manslaughter, intoxication manslaughter, or driving while intoxicated. The jury returned a unanimous verdict of guilty for intoxication manslaughter after nearly five hours of deliberation.
Should I take my DWI case to trial?
Taking your DWI case to trial is a question that should not be taken lightly. The alternative to trial is often a plea deal, and for some, that seems more beneficial due to the less uncertainty surrounding the outcome of a case than going to trial and having an unpredictable jury decide your fate. In the case of the above-mentioned Sunland Park man, he may now be wishing he took a plea deal because his conviction means years behind bars and steep fines, including the possibility of having to pay restitution to the victim's family.
So, there are costs that must be weighed on both sides. But there are two things that should be considered here: (1) the depth and extent of the defense attorney's experience and commitment; and (2) the collateral costs of pleading guilty in exchange for that deal made between you and the prosecutor.
The Best Houston DWI Attorney
The quality of the attorney matters. Someone with trial experience matters. Someone who likes to take on challenges and win matters. Being Board Certified in DWI defense is one indication that your DWI attorney may have the right stuff to procure a positive outcome in your case. An attorney also Board Certified in criminal law complements the Board certification in DWI defense.
Many who settle for plea bargains do so without considering the collateral consequences. Pleading guilty means a criminal record, and a criminal record means problems, like difficulty obtaining loans for school or real estate to losing a professional license to not being able to find meaningful employment.
Your Best Chance at a Positive Outcome for Your DWI Trial in Texas
In the case of the Sunland Park man, the jury found him guilty of intoxication manslaughter rather than the lesser offense of intoxicated while driving. Not every case will have a positive outcome, but with the right attorney, you stand your best chance at one. That's why it is ever important to be sure you retain the best DWI lawyer in Houston.