ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A man who was caught dead to rights driving drunk was charged with his eighth DWI – a charge that carries a minimum of 10 years in prison. Anthony Ruiz, 60, was given a plea deal Friday for a sixth and a fraction of the sentence.
“You’re a damn moron, you stupid state cop,” Ruiz is seen saying in NMSP police lapel video. Drunk behind the wheel back in April, just a block from the state police headquarters on Carlisle, eating a hamburger. But as a belligerent Ruiz was facing a charge for an eighth DWI, he was already banking on beating the system.
“I’m going to tell you right now, it ain’t going to work. I already know. You’re going to be a failure, but go to court,” Ruiz adds in the video.
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Friday, Ruiz found out he would benefit from cracks in the DWI system after all. “The terms are that you are pleading guilty to DWI sixth offense,” Judge Britt Baca-Miller said Friday. Instead of looking at 10 to 12 years, “you will be ordered to serve a period of incarceration not less than the mandatory 18 months and not more than the 30 months of incarceration.”
It was a glimpse into the hurdles prosecutors can face with habitual drunk drivers. According to the DA’s office, while online court records show Ruiz had at least eight – and possibly 10 – DWI convictions dating back to the 80s, tracking down the actual documents from the cases to prove the convictions is often impossible. With Ruiz, they could only track down six usable case files.
“You are admitting you are the same person who committed DWI [in] Bernalillo County, New Mexico, April 25, 1987. Is that correct?” Judge Baca-Miller asked.
As part of the plea deal, prosecutors had him admit to seven past convictions. So, if he’s arrested for DWI again, he’ll be going away for 10 to 12 years once and for all.
Judge: You’re facing enhanced punishment if you’re convicted of another DWI in the future, are you aware of that?
Ruiz: I am.
Ruiz could be sentenced within a month. The DA’s office wants the maximum of two and a half years. They say the plea deal avoids the risks of a trial and insures a conviction while documenting the old DWIs in case he slips up again.