There'll be no holiday cheer this year for Michael Smith.
"This verdict sends a message that Tarrant County will not tolerate drunken drivers who endanger the lives of our citizens," said Assistant District Attorney Brooke Panuthos, who tried the case with prosecutor Caroline Kim.
"We hope this sentence will deter others from driving while intoxicated, especially during this holiday season," Panuthos said, in a written statement.
Smith was stopped by Arlington police about 4:45 p.m. on Jan. 7 after a 911 caller reported an erratic driver. A beer can fell out of his van while officers were questioning him, and an open beer was found behind the seat, according to the district attorney's office.
A blood test revealed his blood-alcohol content was .24 - three times the legal limit in Texas.
Smith had 12 prior convictions, including seven DWI convictions from Dallas County. He also had four prior convictions for burglary of a vehicle and one for car theft.
He will be required to serve nearly 14 years in prison before he is eligible for parole. He had never been sentenced to more than three years in prison on his prior convictions.
- Dianna Hunt