Texas has a no nonsense reputation for drunk driving and long prison terms are not uncommon in the Lone Star state for DWI drivers.
However, the sentence that was handed down to Ronnie Paul Hobgood was stiff even by the state’s standards.
Hobgood was arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in February. In August he was sentenced to 50 years in jail.
The Washington Post reported it was the sixth time that the 45-year-old from Texas has been arrested for drunk driving. He was arrested five times since 1990 before February, leading to a death, five convictions and two jail terms.
Hobgood was convicted in Montgomery County near Houston. The county is infamous for its harsh penalties for DWI convictions.
Hobgood will be eligible for parole half-way through his sentence when he’s 70, Montgomery County Prosecutor Brittany Litaker told The Washington Post.
Hobgood’s fourth conviction was for intoxication manslaughter after his driving led to a death. He served 16 years of a 20-year prison sentence before he was paroled. His fifth sentence led him to be jailed until he was released on parole in 2015.
In February, he drove into two cars when he was under the influence of alcohol. Media reports stated his blood/alcohol level was 0.272, more than three times the legal limit.
The Washington Post report noted a drunk driver received an even higher sentence than Hobgood this year in Montgomery County. In June, NBC affiliate KFOR reported, a man received a sentence of life in prison after his 9th DWI conviction since 1980.
According to 2015 figures, Texas recorded more deaths linked to drunk driving than anywhere else in the country with 1,446 deaths.
The harsh approach to DWI offenses in Texas illustrates why it’s important to hire an experienced DWI defense lawyer if you are charged with these crimes.
Even for a first DWI offense in Texas you can face a fine of $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail, states Texas Department of Transportation.
At Broden & Mickelsen, LLP, we provide a vigorous offense for people who are charged with driving while intoxicated. We include in our fee the representation of our clients before the Administrative Law Court at the hearing that will decide whether to suspend the person’s license.