The Social Stigma of DWI
The article below was published in the San Antonio Express News on September 9, 2010. What disturbed me most about this article were the comments that were posted online from readers of the paper. Many people voiced concern that someone convicted of DWI could ever be allowed to serve as a high school athletic director/football coach. Some people were of the opinion that this was really Mr. Heredia’s third DWI, despite the fact that the second charge had been dismissed seven years ago.
These comments are indicative of the stigma that society attaches to a DWI conviction. They also highlight the prejudices to which a DWI defendant could be exposed when in front of a jury – the same people who left these comments can constitute your jury panel.
Note that in Texas, there is no longer a time period after which a DWI is not counted against a person. In other words, if a person is convicted of DWI in 1985, and then charged with DWI again in 2010, that second charge is elevated to a DWI 2nd, a Class A Misdemeanor despite the passing of 25 years.
A lesson can be taken from Mr. Heredia’s experience: DWI is a serious charge with serious legal and social consequences. That is why it is so important to get a strong legal team behind you if you are ever charged with DWI. It is absolutely essential to hire a team that has the experience and training to fight for your legal and constitutional rights and to develop all possible defenses available to you. For more information on DWI and DWI laws, visit the Law Office of Jamie Balagia at DWIDUDE.com, or call us at (210) 394-3833.
By Vianna Davila- Express-News
Poteet's athletic director and head football coach was arrested over the Labor Day weekend on a charge of driving while intoxicated, officials confirmed Wednesday. Mario Heredia, 40, was booked into the Atascosa County Jail just after midnight Monday and charged with DWI-second offense. He was released the same day, after he posted a $5,000 bond.
According to criminal records, Heredia was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated in March 1993 in Abilene; he was convicted of the offense in a Taylor County Court in July of that year.
He was arrested again on a DWI charge in 2003 in Tom Green County, but that charge was dismissed.
Heredia remains employed with the Poteet Independent School District, Superintendent Andy Castillo said Wednesday.
According to the Department of Public Safety, the coach was arrested after being involved in a crash. No other details were available Wednesday morning.
Castillo confirmed that Heredia had been in an accident and was taken to jail. But Castillo said, as of Wednesday morning, he still didn't know why DPS troopers had arrested Heredia.
“I will say that he was involved in an accident and I will say that he was arrested," Castillo said.
Castillo declined to elaborate on Heredia's future with the district or if officials were aware this was his second DWI offense, saying it is a personnel issue.
“We'll deal with it when we get all the facts," Castillo said. “We'll probably consult some of our (school) board members."
According to Castillo, Heredia was hired as Poteet athletic director in 2009.