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Austin man gets 25 years in prison for his ninth DWI conviction


Highlights

Prosecutors offered a 25-year deal, the minimum sentence, to avoid a new trial over a disqualified juror.

All of the man’s DWI convictions were in Texas. He was out on parole at the time of his 2015 arrest in Austin.

An Austin man whose blood alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit when he was arrested in 2015 was found guilty of his ninth DWI on Wednesday and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Adrian Facundo-Hernandez, 55, agreed to the minimum sentence in exchange for waiving his right to appeal. He was offered a post-conviction plea by prosecutors when his attorney, Travis Ketner, requested a new trial because a juror had an outstanding arrest warrant for theft in 1988.

Before the trial, Facundo-Hernandez rejected a 35-year offer from prosecutors.

In Texas, a third DWI conviction is a felony and carries a punishment of up to 10 years in prison. However, Facundo-Hernandez’s sentencing range increased to 25 years to life because of his previous convictions. At the time of his arrest, he was out on parole from a 2007 DWI in Travis County. He was sentenced to 15 years, but didn’t serve the entire term.

His record of DWI arrests dates back to 1985. All of them came in Texas.

The jury deliberated for more than an hour before determining Facundo-Hernandez was intoxicated and operated a car on the night of Nov. 15, 2015, before police woke him while he was in the driver’s seat with keys in his hand. The defendant opted to let Judge Clifford Brown, not the jury, handle sentencing, but then agreed to the 25-year deal.

Facundo-Hernandez was arrested in East Austin after police responded to a call of a car crashing into a parked car on Alf Avenue. When police arrived, the defendant was asleep in the driver’s seat of his parked silver Mercury, according to the affidavit. His car had damage and a flat tire, the document said. Another car on the street had damage consistent with a crash. Witnesses had followed the man to his driveway after hearing noise from the car wreck; one of them told police he was almost struck by Facundo-Hernandez’s car.

Prosecutors Joshua Reno and Ken Ervin presented the jury a video of the defendant badly stumbling during a field sobriety test, in which he failed all but one of 18 examination points. His blood alcohol level was 0.268, more than three times the legal limit of 0.08.

Ketner told jurors his client didn’t drive the vehicle, suggesting that perhaps he had decided to sleep in it after a fight with his girlfriend.

Facundo-Hernandez is eligible for parole in 2023.



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