Should A 3-Time DUI Offender Be Kept Out Of Prison After Paralysis?
Next month, a Northampton County judge will decide whether or not to allow house arrest for a 3-time DUI offender who is wheelchair bound and paralyzed.
30-year-old Miguelangel Tsiounis of Bethlehem Township was arrested for his third DUI arrest on 23 October, 2015 in Freemansburg. When police stopped and attested him, they found out that the driver was on parole for his second drunken driving conviction.
Tsiounis was sentenced to 90 days up to 5 years in prison for the second offense. Since he was paralyzed, he spent the sentence on house arrest.
His attorney, James Burke, is again looking for house arrest for Tsiounis. According to the defense attorney, Northampton County Prison is ill-equipped to care for him due to his paralysis. Tsiounis was involved in a falling accident on 27 August 2005, when he suffered a spinal injury, leading to his condition. Less than two months later after the spine injury, he was charged with underage drunk driving in 2005.
Tsiounis is able to drive with the aid of a hand-operable car.
“Because of health reasons, we’re asking for house arrest, which I think is more than reasonable,” Burke said Thursday.
On Thursday, Tsiounis appeared in front of Northampton County Senior Judge Leonard Zito when he pleaded guilty to his third DUI offense. He is scheduled to be sentenced in May.
His criminal record shows that Tsiounis was first charged for underage drinking in 2005. He also faced other charges including speeding, driving without a license and drunken driving. That incident took place in Bethlehem Township.
The next DUI incident took place in 2009. According to police reports, Tsiounis was driving drunk when he crashed into a parked snowplow and punched a paramedic in 2009. It’s unclear how the 2009 case was resolved as it’s not listed in an online criminal docket.
After that incident in 2009, he was involved in a second drunk driving incident on 5 January 2013 which took place in Bethlehem. After that, he was arrested for a third DUI offense in October, 2015.
Since Tsiounis would lose medical assistance to treat his spinal cord injury if he had charges pending against him, the district attorney’s office agreed to throw out the charges.
News Source: www.LehighValleyLive.com