San Antonio – Attorney Ernest Acevedo III said the public status and attention to District 10 Councilman Clayton Perry’s role involving a hit-and-run will likely mean a harsher punishment if he’s found guilty.
Perry, who turned himself into the Bexar County Courthouse just after 4 p.m. Thursday, is currently facing charges for failure to stop and give information after a crash that resulted in damages to a vehicle over $200. He was released after posting a $1,000 bond.
On Friday, SAPD announced it would file a DWI charge against the councilman with the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office.
Acevedo said he has been trying DWI cases in Bexar County for nearly three decades. He said charging a driver with DWI without any form of onsite chemical test, breathalyzer, or sobriety test is very rare.
“I can probably think of a handful of cases over decades where I’ve seen somebody charged after the fact without a DWI investigation and without a chemical test to present to the jury,” he sad.
But it’s not impossible with other evidence, such as witness testimony and clear video evidence.
“If it’s done in a way where the video confirms that a jury could find him guilty based on a video of him being intoxicated -- as long as they can relate it to the driving portion -- that would be a way of doing it. It would just be unusual. You don’t see it very often,” he said.
As to whether or not the officer who responded to the call had the legal right to perform a form of sobriety test or DWI investigation at Perry’s home, Acevedo said those are the kinds of things DWI attorneys will challenge in court.
One of the factors is that Perry was at his home when officers caught up with him.
“If people are home, they don’t get arrested for DWI. That’s uncommon because it’s hard to get the proof that a person was driving while intoxicated once they’re in their house. Unless you have all the evidence of what happened right before that,” Acevedo explained.
A first-time DWI conviction is a Class B misdemeanor, one level above a ticket. In Bexar County, Acevedo said it usually results in probation or jail time. Although Perry’s public status may mean a harsh penalty, the attorney said.
“If you make it on the news. That generally makes your case much more difficult to fight than if nobody knows your case is pending,” he said.