Advertisement

Austin Local News

News > Austin Local News > Austin police frustrated with DWI conviction rates

Austin police frustrated with DWI conviction rates

                                                                        While DWI arrests continue to rise in Austin, the city's top cop doesn't think enough offenders are convicted of the crime.

RELATED: Austin's drinking problem

"Life is about accountability. It's about paying the price for making a poor choice," said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo.

Yolanda Mason agrees. A drunk driver hit her in 2012. According to police dashboard camera video, the driver who hit her was so drunk he couldn't stand up to do the sobriety test.

Court records show the driver, Richard Rivera, had a .246 blood alcohol level -- more than three times the legal limit.

"I said, 'Have you been drinking?' and he said, 'Yeah.' You couldn't deny it, you could actually smell it," said Mason.

It was Rivera's third DWI arrest. It should have automatically qualified him for a felony conviction, which carries two to 10 years in prison, but court records show a 1983 DWI conviction got "set aside," essentially dismissed, after he agreed to serve probation.

So, the courts considered Rivera's last conviction a misdemeanor. He received two years probation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

(Photo:Shutterstock/RoschetzkyProductions) Austin has officially submitted a bid to lure the highly sought-after...
(Photo:APD/PIO) The Austin Police Department Robbery Unit is investigating a series of East Austin convenience...
(Photo: KLBJ 590am/99.7fm KLBJ/ Jon Cooley) The iconic shop has been in operation since the early 90s, but as of...
(KLBJ FILE PHOTO) Travis County Commissioners could make the criminal, civil and family court systems more...
(KLBJ File Photo) Austin City Council pores through the latest draft of the rules governing land use in the city...