Man with 9 DWI convictions heads to prison

June 5, 2009 3:02:39 PM PDT
The state of Texas has some pretty tough laws when it comes to getting drunk drivers off the streets. But what do you give to a guy who has been caught not once, not twice, but nine times? How about 75 years in prison. Brazoria County's District Attorney says she is satisfied with that verdict. Enough was enough, she says. Something had to be done to protect those on the roads.

Keith Peltier got his first DWI conviction in 1986. His ninth was just this week.

"I can't give Keith Peltier another chance to kill someone," said Brazoria County District Attorney Jeri Yenne.

This conviction was the result of an incident at a gas station near FM 521 and 1462 near Rosharon in May of last year when a DPS trooper spotted Peltier acting intoxicated. Investigators say Peltier refused a breath test and failed field sobriety tests.

Until now, Peltier hadn't been sentenced to more than three years in prison. Authorities say he'd never hurt anyone, but by trying him in court one more time and persuing a stiff sentence against him this time, they hoped to keep it that way.

"I would characterize his vehicle as a loaded gun," said Yenne. "The chances are, it's just a matter of time."

A jury gave him 75 years for driving while intoxicated. He faced up to life in prison.

His attorney says the sentence was too severe. Attorney Jon Jaworski says the prosecution of his client this time was payback for another case where Peltier was acquitted.

In this case, Jaworski says also says, "I don't think he was intoxicated by alcohol."

He tells us he thinks his apparent intoxication was, in reality, a "diabetic reaction."

Peltier must serve at least a quarter of his 75 year sentence before even becoming eligible for parole.

DWI punishments

You face big legal problems if you are caught drinking and driving even just once. First, if you refuse to take a blood or breath test, your license could automatically be suspended for 6 months.

If you are convicted of DWI, you face a fine of up to $2,000, between three days and 180 days in jail and a suspension of your license from three months to a year. On the second offense, you face a fine of up to $4,000, a jail term from 30 days to a year and you could lose your license for 2 years. And after the third office, it's a $10,000 fine, two to 10 years in prison and losing your license for 2 years.

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