Texas Man Gets Life in Prison for DWI

August 13, 2010

(Chattahbox) – When Bobby Stovall got in his car that day in July, he wasn’t thinking about the consequences.  In fact, the 54-year-old Texan was so intoxicated he probably wasn’t thinking about much of anything.  But you can be pretty sure he wasn’t expecting to be facing life in prison.

After Mr. Stovall was caught driving recklessly and hitting and injuring another driver in July, police discovered that he had a blood alcohol level of .32.   In Texas, the legal limit is .08, or any level that impairs driving.  For the average person, a blood alcohol concentration of .32 is enough to cause unconsciousness or death.

But that wasn’t the only nail in Stovall’s coffin.  Not only did he already have 8 other DWI charges, he was also previously found guilty of burglary, credit card abuse, and supplying alcohol to a minor– among other crimes.  The judge opted to put him in jail for life rather than let him continue to be a danger to the public.  The county where Stovall was convicted is known for its harsh sentences for violent or repeat crimes.

Lawrence Taylor, a DUI attorney, thinks the sentencing is unfair. “This guy has a disease, he is an alcoholic and this isn’t the kind of situation where he’s acting with malice to hurt people…  He has a serious problem and I hope the days are past where we think alcoholism is something you choose.”  Mr. Taylor believes Stovall should be sent to rehabilitation rather than jail.

Others disagree, among them District Attorney John Bradley.  “It’s a big dodge to focus on the disease and not the crime,” he told reporters.  Indeed. While Mr. Stovall’s alcoholism is unfortunate, his record of putting others in danger because of it indicates a need for the authorities to step in.  The only question is whether jail time, something the taxpayers will have to pay for, is truly the right solution to keeping the streets safe.

With good behavior, Stovall could easily be out on parole in 5 years.


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