John P. Chavez’s lengthy DWI history

Posted: February 15, 2011 in Uncategorized
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John P. Chavez, top in 2011 with defense attorney Val Whitley, and below in 2003 with defense attorney Hugh Dangler. (The New Mexican file photos)

John P. Chavez was back in court Monday being arraigned on a DWI charge from December.

He has a lengthy DWI history in Santa Fe over the last 30 years (see below).

Chavez pleaded guilty to striking a Colorado couple near the Santa Fe Plaza in 2002 and dragging a woman underneath his truck for several blocks in what he described as a drunken blackout. He served more than six years in prison for that offense.

On Monday, he was arraigned in state District Court on a charge of felony DWI stemming from a Dec. 11 arrest after state police say he drove drunk on Cerrillos Road after leaving a strip club.

State prosecutors said paperwork issues leave them only able to prove three prior convictions to the standards required by law to enhance DWI charges, but The New Mexican has records showing this was arrest No. 11 for Chavez on a DWI charge since 1982 and he has at least eight convictions. He served less than three weeks for convictions 1 through 7 according to the records I found in 2003 when I was in my first stint with The New Mexican and covered this story then.

Here is that history according newspaper, MVD and court archives:

  • Dec. 11, 2010: New Mexico State Police arrested Chavez at 2:12 a.m. on southbound Cerrillos Road. A statement of probable cause for Chavez’s arrest states he admitted to driving drunk after leaving Cheeks Nightclub and refused, twice, to take a Breathalyzer test. He was charged with aggravated DWI and was released on a $10,000 bond Friday, according to jail records. The case is pending before State District Judge Stephen Pfeffer
  • Sept. 28, 2002: Chavez pleaded no contest to great bodily harm by vehicle (while driving drunk) and two counts of leaving the scene of an accident. He was sentenced to the maximum 8 1/2 years in prison by state District Judge Michael Vigil and was released sometime in the first half of 2010 after serving more than seven years in prison. Total: seven-plus years in prison
  • Sept. 4, 1999: Former Santa Fe County Magistrate Bill Dimas approved a plea agreement from the District Attorney’s Office and fined Chavez $500 and sentenced him to 364 days in jail, and suspended 357 of those days. Total: $500, seven days in jail
  • April 4, 1990: Former municipal judge Thomas Fiorina fined Chavez $300, but suspended $150 of that fine and sentenced him to 90 days in jail and suspended 86 of those days. Total: $150, 4 days in jail
  • Sept. 27, 1985: An MVD spokeswoman in 2003 said her office had no record of this arrest ever being disposed of in court and no record of a conviction on this charge.
  • Dec. 2, 1984: Fiorina fined Chavez $300, but suspended $200 of that fine and sentenced him to 90 days in jail and suspended 88 of those days. Total: $100, two days
  • Nov. 3, 1984: An MVD spokeswoman in 2003 said her office had no record of this arrest ever being disposed of in court and no record of a conviction on this charge.
  • Nov. 15, 1983: Fiorina fined Chavez $300 and sentenced him to 90 days in jail and suspended 88 of those days. Total: $300, two days in jail
  • May 27, 1983: Fiorina fined Chavez $300 and sentenced him to 90 days in jail and suspended 88 of those days. Total: $300, two days in jail
  • April 30, 1983: Fiorina fined Chavez $300 and sentenced him to 90 days in jail and suspended 88 of those days. Total: $300, two days in jail
  • Oct. 1, 1982: An MVD spokeswoman in 2003 said her office had no record of how this conviction was disposed of, but said Chavez has not had a valid New Mexico driver’s license since this arrest.
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