DUI laws for Alabama municipalities appear to be too lenient based on news coming out of Huntsville lately. In the wake of the violent drunk driving traffic deaths of two teenagers on April 17, Mayor Tommy Battle and the Huntsville City Council are actively seeking more stringent legislation for those with previous drunk driving offenses.
At the Huntsville City Council meeting last week, members demanded to know why municipal DUI offenders are not subject to the same three-strike rule as the state requires when it comes to driving under the influence of alcohol. According to reports, the man who sped through an intersection that Friday night — hitting and killing Grissom High School sophomore, Leigh Anna Jimmerson, 16, and her boyfriend, Tad Mattle, 19 — already had an outstanding warrant for a previous drunk driving offense.
According to authorities, the 25-year-old suspect, Felix Dominguez Ortega, has been arrested previously under the name Adan Herrera. Police also claim that Ortega has used the names Reynaldo Martinez and Juan Sanchez. Being held in the Madison County jail on $2 million bond pending trial, he has been charged with two counts of murder, as well as with possession of a forged instrument and operating a vehicle without a valid driver's license.
Every drunk driving offense is serious, but when deaths are involved the situation can be very challenging for the defense. Regardless, in our legal system every defendant has the right to be represented when his day in court arrives. The charges against the defendant in this case make it all the more important to have a skilled legal professional on his side.
This latest DUI-related traffic death has ignited calls for tougher laws. As it stands now, a third-time municipal DUI offense does not automatically result in a felony on a driver's record. This could change in the months to come, as Mayor Battle recently announced his plans to effect a change in the law. Working with state representatives, Battle has helped create House Bill 260, containing legislation that the bill's authors hope will lower the number of DUI's in Huntsville, and across the state.
If you or anyone you know finds themselves accused of DUI, we highly recommend that you seek the services of a qualified and experienced Alabama DUI Lawyer. Eversole Law has the skills and the knowledge to provide a quality defense for clients in Birmingham and surrounding areas.
Huntsville Officials React to DUI Deaths, WAAYTV.com, April 23, 2009
Overflow crowd fills church for Leigh Anna Jimmerson's funeral, AL.com, April 22, 2009
Police: Crash suspect has warrants for DUI, AL.com, April 21, 2009