3rd DUI, dui, Felony DUI

Third DUI Life Sentence – Full Text of Opinion

What has been described as a life sentence for a 3rd DUI is actually the defendant’s fifth DUI. Still Texas has ruled a life sentence is not disproportionate to the crime. The court noted, “Davidson also had two prior misdemeanor convictions for the offense of driving while intoxicated, and evidence of those convictions was presented at sentencing. Thus, this was actually her fifth DWI conviction.”

Case Excerpt: “It is well established that a sentence of life imprisonment or of similar length is not grossly disproportionate to a felony offense that is committed by a habitual offender, even when the felony is not inherently violent in nature.
Here is the full text of the opinion with footnotes omitted.
“TEXAS COURT OF APPEALS, THIRD DISTRICT, AT AUSTIN
NO. 03-13-00708-CR
Rose Ann Davidson, Appellant
The State of Texas, Appellee
FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF HAYS COUNTY, 207TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT
NO. CR-12-0735, HONORABLE JACK H. ROBISON, JUDGE PRESIDING
M E M O R A N D U M  O P I N I O N 
A jury convicted appellant Rose Ann Davidson of the felony offense of driving while intoxicated, subsequent offense. Punishment, enhanced by two prior felony convictions for the offense of driving while intoxicated, was assessed at life imprisonment. In a single point of error on appeal, Davidson asserts that the sentence of life imprisonment is “grossly disproportionate” to the offense that she committed and thus constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.
The State responds that Davidson failed to preserve error on this point. We agree. It is well established that to preserve a complaint of cruel and unusual punishment, a defendant must make a timely, specific objection to the trial court or raise the issue in a motion for new trial. Here, Davidson did neither. Accordingly, any error has been waived. 
Moreover, even if this issue had been preserved below, we could not conclude on this record that Davidson’s complaint has merit. It is well established that a sentence of life imprisonment or of similar length is not grossly disproportionate to a felony offense that is committed by a habitual offender, even when the felony is not inherently violent in nature.  Here, Davidson was convicted of the felony offense of driving while intoxicated, and she pleaded true to two prior felony convictions for that offense. Based on Davidson’s repeated commission of the offense of driving while intoxicated, a dangerous offense that placed her life and the lives of others in jeopardy, we could not conclude that a sentence of life imprisonment was grossly disproportionate to the offense so as to constitute cruel and unusual punishment. We overrule Davidson’s sole point of error. We affirm the district court’s judgment of conviction.