Former Municipial Court Judge

Former Assistant District Attny.

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Just how serious have DWIs become in TX?

Tim Powers

Law Office of Tim Powers


Officials say DWI has serious consequences

SEGUIN — Every 90 seconds someone is injured by a drunk driver. Every 52 minutes someone dies.

Last December, 19-year-old Amber Robbins became one of those statistics — killed after Cody Lorenz, driving drunk, smashed into her car. His blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.

Lorenz pleaded guilty to murder in October.

While this might have been Lorenz's first wreck from driving while intoxicated, it was not his first arrest for the charge.

Lorenz had two previous convictions for driving while intoxicated — both misdemeanor charges.

All three of his arrests happened before turning 21.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving about one-third of the wrecks, arrests, deaths and injuries are a result of repeat offenders.

Another recent case that's gathered attention is a Seguin man who was convicted in Comal County for his eighth DWI and sentenced to life in prison.

Cornelio Garcia-Mata was arrested in February with a blood alcohol level of .446 — more than five times the legal limit of .08.

It took a jury approximately 45 minutes to find him guilty, and 20 minutes to assess his punishment, said Comal County Chief Felony Prosecutor Sammy McCrary

Because the jury determined that crime involved the use of a deadly weapon — his vehicle — Garcia-Mata's will serve at least 30 years in prison.

"Certainly we hope that it will send that message that people are tired of it — particularly somebody who has done this repeatedly," he said.

Garcia-Mata won't be alone.

According to the Texas Tribune's prison inmate database, 29 others are currently serving a life sentence for DWI in Texas prisons.

In an effort to help prevent more tragedies, like Robbins, Seguin Police Chief Kevin Kelso said his department is stepping up their presence, and looking for grant money that could keep extra officers on the road during the holidays.

Between work Christmas parties and family gatherings, Kelso said people will drink — the question is whether or not they'll get behind the wheel.

"Often times there are parties and often times with those parties comes the consumption of alcohol," he said. "We are not trying to say that consuming alcohol is bad. If you decide to drink, you need to make sure that you have someone that has been designated as the driver. We are not saying it is right or wrong for somebody to consume, but it definitely is wrong to consume and then drive."

Choosing a friend or a family member to drive could mean the difference between life and death, even after just a few, Kelso said.

"It is easy for them to decide that they are not too drunk to drive, but that is what alcohol does, it impairs your ability to think logically," he said. "

Realizing the limited options of public transportation in smaller communities, the Texas Department of Transportation has launched a new initiative.

"Too often a designated driver is chosen during the evening and is the 'least drunk' person in the group," the release said. "Also, in many of our Texas towns and cities, mass transit and/or taxi availability is limited – another important reason this campaign message is about planning ahead and reminding our fellow Texans that 'Sober drivers make great gifts.'"

In helping to get their message out, the agency created a fun way to offer up driving services for friends or family.

"TxDOT has produced English and Spanish posters that will have an attachable plastic container to hold pre-printed Holiday P.A.S.S. gift certificates that people can give to friends, family and co-workers — offering their services as a sober driver on dates the giver identifies on the gift P.A.S.S.," the release said. "Texans can help make the holidays merry and bright all season long by giving the gift of a sober drive home. Remember, it's the most wonderful time of the year, but one poor decision to drink and drive could bring a devastating end to holiday celebrations."

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If you are seeking aggressive criminal representation by an experienced criminal defense attorney for your Denton County DWI case or arrest in Denton County, contact the offices of Tim Powers today. There is no charge or obligation for the initial consultation. 940.580.2899.

*Tim Powers is an attorney licensed to practice law by the Supreme Court of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice about any specific legal question you should directly consult an attorney.