Midland Man Sentenced to 20 Years After 5th DWI 10/29/13
MIDLAND - Midland County District Attorney Teresa Clingman announced that a 47-year-old Midland man was sentenced Tuesday to a term of 20 years in prison by a Midland County jury for his third felony Driving While Intoxicated charge. Joel Gochicoa Abila (12/02/1965) was charged in case number CR41687 with felony Driving While Intoxicated based on a May 19, 2013 arrest. After hearing evidence Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, the jury found Abila guilty after deliberating slightly more than an hour and a half. After an additional half hour of deliberations Tuesday afternoon, the jury reached its verdict on the punishment phase of the trial and assessed the maximum punishment of 20 years in prison along with a $7500 fine.
The evidence presented in the case showed that police were called to Mr. Abila's residence at 1208 North Main after a neighbor reported his possible involvement in damaging her fence with his vehicle. Based on the neighbor's report that she say Abila driving down Cowden Ave. just prior to the arrival of the police ad on field sobriety tests performed at the scene, abila was arrested for for DWI. A blood specimen obtained from Mr. Abila at the Midland County Detention Center showed his blood alcohol concentration to be 0.271, more than three times the legal standard for intoxication. Abila had been to prison for felony DWI previously for four years in 2004, been placed on probation for a felony DWI in 2002 and was convicted for two misdemeanor DWI charges in the 1990's, making this his fifth DWI conviction overall. Felony DWI normally carries a maximum of 10 years, but Mr. Abila's punishment range was enhanced to a 20-year maximum possible sentence because of his prior convictions. Under the law, he must serve at least one fourth of the sentence in this case before he is eligible to be considered for parole.
The case was prosecuted by Midlnd County Assistant District Attorney Tim Flathers. Abila was represented by Midland attorney Ed Shelby. The trial was held in the 238th District Court and presided over by Judge Elizabeth Byer Leonard.