Texas Man Receives Life Sentence after 7th DWI Conviction

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The 48-year-old James Nachlinger of Scurry County, West Texas got a life sentence last March 2017 after his seventh DWI conviction.

Last year, on July 28, 2016, a Texas Department of Public Safety officer pulled over Nachlinger while driving on Interstate 20 in western Parker County.

A sample of his blood was taken, and a lab concluded that his blood alcohol content was more than three times the legal limit.

Mr. Nachlinger had ten prior DWI arrests. He received the maximum sentence under Texas law, and now the citizens of Texas will pay for his housing, food, medical bills and supervision for the rest of his life (unless he is released on parole).

Nachlinger apparently told authorities he still drinks “because he likes it.”

Life sentences for Texas DWI cases

Nachlinger’s case isn’t rare at all in Texas.

In 2015, Donald Middleton committed his ninth DWI conviction in Houston after crashing into a pickup. His blood alcohol content was .184, twice the legal limit.

The 56-year-old man received a life sentence, ineligible for parole until 2045.

In 2014, the 46-year-old Terry Lynn Stevens also received a life sentence by a Burnet County jury after crashing into a fence in Marble Falls.

At that time, his blood alcohol content was more than three times the limit. This was his seventh DWI conviction.

DWI conviction penalties in Texas

In Texas, penalties vary according to the offense number. Special rules apply for drivers under 21 years old.

  • 1st offense – Fine up to $2,000 with a jail time between 3 days and 180 days.
  • 2nd offense – Fine up to $4,000 with a jail time between 1 month and a year.
  • 3rd offense – Fine up to $10,000 with a jail time between 2 years and 10 years.

You are eligible for a life sentence on a DWI if you’ve had two or more prior trips to the penitentiary.

Life sentences needed to protect the public?

The Montgomery District attorney, Brett Ligon, believes that long sentences are inappropriate for the majority of cases.

But he thinks that when it comes to crimes committed for many times, it’s time to separate the offender from the society.

Alternative solutions to life sentences

Sentences taking 30 years and more can be costly. Some of the solutions offered are rehabilitation, longer license suspensions, and the use of interlock devices.

Rehabilitation

The former Republican state legislator, Jerry Madden prefers rehabilitation for DWI offenders as alcoholism is a serious addiction.

License suspensions

Texas law allows license suspensions up to two years unlike in other states that take up to five years.

The state can’t also permanently revoke licenses after multiple DWI convictions, which is possible for North Carolina and New York after a third offense.

Permanent revocations may not help after studies show that 50% to 70% of the offenders still drive with suspended licenses. Additionally, permanently revoking a license can make it impossible for someone to survive in a society dependent on vehicular transportation, especially if they have to comply with harsh probation requirements.

Interlock devices

Ignition interlock devices can disable a car to start whenever its driver is drunk.

DWI offenders with interlocks were 67% less likely to be arrested again for the same offense.

There are still issues about interlocks not being the best solution to prevent drunk driving as drivers can cheat by using another car.

Young Receives Probation Charge in Texas DWI case

texas dwi

Former University of Texas and NFL quarterback Vince Young had a run-in with the law earlier this month for a Texas DWI.

The football star is now facing the consequences of a DWI conviction for the 2016 drunken driving arrest that occurred in Austin, Texas. Keep reading for all the facts you need to know.

Vince Young Texas DWI Case

The Arrest

The former University of Texas football quarterback’s Texas DWI case began on January 24, 2016, when he was pulled over for erratic driving.

According to the county attorney’s office, Young’s blood-alcohol concentration was three times the legal limit.

The arresting officer wrote in an arrest affidavit that the 32-year-old smelled strongly of alcohol.

The officer included that Young’s balance was “swaying and unsure.” He also mentioned that Young showed symptoms of intoxication while walking and that he was not cooperative with the officer, although he remained polite, the affidavit said.

After the Arrest

Records show, following his arrest in Austin on a misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated, Young was booked into Travis County Jail at 12:46 a.m.

After appearing before a Travis County judge, his bail was set at $2,000, court officials said. The bail amount was within the typical range for a case like this.

Young Receives Probation for Texas DWI

Following last January’s events, Young pleaded no contest for the Texas DWI.

He was sentenced to 18 months of probation for his offense, in addition to a $300 fine. Travis County Judge Elisabeth Earle also ordered Young to complete 60 hours of community service.

Young must also attend a drunken-driving class and install a device in his vehicle that won’t let it start if it detects alcohol on Young’s breath.

Young’s Facebook Apology

In a statement published Monday evening on his Facebook account, Young apologized for the Texas DWI arrest.

In his public apology, Young included that he was sorry to the people who look up to him and his employers for driving while intoxicated arrest.

“Regardless of the outcome of the pending investigation, I would like my friends, family, and fans to know that I do not condone drinking and driving in any way whatsoever,” Young said in the statement.

“I am very disappointed in myself and I am sorry for any conduct that has made this legal process necessary. I specifically want to apologize to the young men & women who look up to me as a role model and to my employers at the University of Texas and the Longhorn Network. Please let this be a lesson to you all and a moment for you to learn from. As a public figure, I take very seriously my obligation to set an example for others to learn from.”

Young played six seasons in the NFL, most of which were with the Tennessee Titans. This followed a brilliant career at the University of Texas where Young received a national title in 2005.

Impressively, as a junior, Young won the Davey O’Brien Award, awarded annually to the best college quarterback in the nation.

Now, Young works for the University of Texas, promoting diversity and community engagement.

Texas DWI: Are These Austin Lab Results Flawed?

DWI Enforcement Image

texas dwiGetting a DWI is not something anyone wants to face. The costs are high and the consequences are severe.

The police make thousands of arrests every year, and your liberty relies on the state’s labs to properly store, keep track of and analyze lab samples. People are convicted of DWI and more serious offenses like intoxication assault and intoxication manslaughter based on these lab samples.

But what if the police mishandled your evidence? What if their lab work was being questioned from the inside?

Well, that’s exactly what’s been happening in Austin over the past few months. A bizarre turn of events has thousands of Texas DWI convictions called into doubt.

As ever curiously lawyers, we’re bringing your the 5 W’s of this case and how we think it should effect prior convictions.

Who:

The who in this case has three sides. First, the Austin Police Department Crime Lab. They’re the main antagonist.

Second, former Austin Police Department Crime Lab worker, Debra Stephens. And finally, thousands of Texas DWI offenders in Austin.

What:

Debra Stephens sent a letter to District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, alleging that the crime lab’s blood-alcohol analysis methods weren’t complying with industry standards.

Stephens had made such a claim before during her prior employment, but nothing came of her claims.

Her recent letter is quoted as saying:

“The laboratory is incorrectly reporting results using a statistical approach not used by other forensic laboratories. I believe their method validation procedure and estimation of measurement uncertainty has been incorrectly determined and reported… the blood alcohol procedure should be reviewed and updated to follow current scientific techniques.”

Essentially, she’s calling into question the margin of error, which could prove the differential between guilty and not guilty in some cases.

Her letter got enough reaction that Court Attorney (Prosecution) David Escamilla requested a recess during an active DWI trial to examine the letter.

The court attorney’s office then forwarded the letter to local defense attorneys, altering them to evidence that may affect local cases.

When:

This case is currently unfolding. It first hit the news in early December but hasn’t seen any resolution.

Where & Why

The allegations are that improper scientific methods are being used at the Austin Police Department Crime Lab.

This calls into question any other DWI arrests made during the alleged time period.

What the city is looking at, should a review validate Stephens’ claims, is over turning thousands of Texas DWI convictions.

What Does This Mean For Austin Texas DWI?

It reflects poorly upon the Austin Police Crime Lab and the local District Attorney for using questionable lab results.

The court system is also still using the questioned lab when we feel it should have been temporarily closed for inspection.

Certainly, if these alligations are true, it will create chaos for the court system. We can only imagine the outrage from the local DWI defense community.

Our personal views are that any cases called into doubt should be re-examined at the very least.

Arguing “beyond a reasonable doubt” is a delicate subject and requires a jury for determination.

It’s arguable that any plea bargains made during this time period are deals made under false pretense, and that’s a dangerous thing indeed.