Motorists like to believe that our roadways are kept safe from dangerous drunk drivers by the police and the legal system. The reality, however, is that unless and until a drunk driver causes an accident and serious damage or death, he often receives little more than a slap on the wrist, enabling him to continue driving drunk until death or serious injury occurs.
This is perfectly illustrated by the recent case of Horacio Rodriquez-Martinez. Mr. Martinez recently pled guilty to a single count of aggravated DUI. Mr. Martinez was pulled over by Skokie police for driving erratically, and confessed to police that he had consumed a mind-boggling 24 beers before driving. Tests put his blood-alcohol level at .276 percent, or over three times the legal limit. His car also contained open cans of beer, and beer spilled inside the car.
All of this, although wildly irresponsible, is not unusual. What makes Mr. Martinez’ case noteworthy, although again not unusual, is that this was Mr. Martinez’ sixth DUI conviction in nine years.
This time, Mr. Martinez was sentenced to six years in prison. He is required to complete drug and alcohol treatment in prison. His term will be followed by three years of probation. He also must pay fees and fines of $6,710.
While our drunk driving injury attorneys are pleased to see a serious sentence for Mr. Martinez this time, we are appalled that he was allowed to endanger the motorists of our city for years before any real action was taken to stop him. We are extremely lucky that no one was seriously injured, disabled or killed before our justice system finally put a stop to his dangerous behavior.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by a drunk driver, chances are that he, like Mr. Martinez, has a history of this dangerous behavior. This record can be useful in obtaining a favorable settlement or civil judgment against the drunk driver who caused your injuries.
For a free consultation with an experienced Chicago car accident lawyer at Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.