ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque man was busted for drunk driving yet again. Now, the DWI Resource Center is weighing in after police say he has 12 DWI convictions, and court records show he’s been let off the hook before.
“He’s one of our career drinking drivers that has never been stopped,” the DWI Resource Center’s Linda Atkinson said.
Thursday, Ivan Chavez had his first appearance in Santa Fe Magistrate Court after getting busted Wednesday night for yet another DWI. Santa Fe police say the 59-year-old Albuquerque man was driving 10 miles below the speed limit and wasn’t staying in his lane before getting pulled over near Cerrillos Road and Calle De Cielo.
Chavez denied drinking before getting behind the wheel, then failed his field sobriety test and refused to take a breath test. In the criminal complaint, Santa Fe police say Chavez has 12 prior DWI convictions. However, in magistrate court, Judge David Segura counted fewer than that.
“This is a special second-degree felony as you have four or more…actually, five or more convictions, according to the report,” Judge Segura said.
Linda Atkinson with the DWI Resource Center says it comes down, in part, to bad record-keeping.
“If they’re not actually getting the records, they’re not actually convicting at the offense he’s at. The consequences are much less,” Atkinson said.
Online court records also show a dismissed DWI charge from 1992, and overall, a history that Atkinson calls a slap on the wrist.
“It is their job to make sure he is not driving at all. They may not be able to help him with the addiction aspect, but they should be able to help him not have a car,” Atkinson said.
KRQE News 13 reached out to the Bernalillo County District Attorney’ Office, which handled many of Chavez’s prior DWI cases. They say, generally speaking, it’s hard to find the certified paperwork of previous convictions that my date back before electronic records.
Chavez is being held on a $2,500 bond. He will have to test for alcohol six times a day and his first appearance is set for September.