Houston Criminal Defense Attorney Achieves Five Not Guilty Verdicts in Prominent Case

Share Article

Largest intoxication manslaughter victory in Harris County history

Local criminal defense attorney, Mark Thiessen, recently won five not guilty verdicts in the State of Texas v. M.Z., the largest such verdict in Harris County history for an intoxication manslaughter trial, which included four Intoxicated Manslaughter charges and one Intoxicated Assault charge.

According to court documents, on June 22nd of 2014, the client was driving eastbound on Beechnut, leaving a volunteering session at his church. Fifteen minutes later, at approximately 10:00pm, the client’s vehicle collided with a car driving northbound on Synott. Four of the five passengers in the northbound vehicle died. The client was arrested and charged with four counts of intoxication manslaughter.

The client admitted to drinking two beers and a few sips of sewa, a traditional Eritrean beer. Despite the client’s immediate cooperation to take a sobriety test, the police waited almost an hour to perform a field sobriety test. They did not perform blood and breath analysis until 11:45pm and 1:45am respectively, yielding a BAC of 0.14 and 0.10 respectively, according to court documents.

According to court documents, when the case came to trial, the prosecution was unable to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the client had been intoxicated at the time of the accident. Expert testimonies were delivered from forensic toxicology consultant, Gary Wimbish, and from Dr. Waltersheid. Testifying on behalf of the defense, Wimbish testified that drinking the sewa meant the client was still absorbing alcohol and could well have been under the legal limit at the time of driving. Dr. Wimbish and two other State’s witness agreed a retrograde extrapolation to the time of driving should never be done while the person is still in the absorption phase.

According to court documents, Dr. Waltersheid, testifying on behalf of the State, was the only expert who attempted retrograde extrapolation and said that the client was between a 0.16 and 0.18 at the time of driving. He also opined the client would have had to drink between 8 and 9 drinks between 8pm and 830pm to reach that level. The client’s behavior and lack of bathroom use, however, gave rise to reasonable doubt. Acting on their doubt and a lack of strong evidence from the prosecution, the jury found the client not guilty on all charges.

The Thiessen Law Firm is thankful that the jury acted in accordance with the law. They send their sincerest condolences to all of those affected by this tragic accident.

About Thiessen Law Firm
Since opening the Thiessen Law Firm opened in July 2011, Mark Thiessen has experienced tremendous success. Having already represented hundreds of DWI clients, achieved numerous dismissals, and won 18 jury trials, Thiessen Law Firm has now expanded to include two associate attorneys, three paralegals, a marketing director, a process server, and an investigator. Additionally, Mark Thiessen has joined forces with attorney Chris Samuelson to create Samuelson Thiessen, L.L.P., which handles cases in Colorado.

Case Numbers 1432760, 1432761, 1432762, 1432763, 1435309
Harris County 180th Criminal Court, 1201 Franklin St, Houston, TX 77002

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Daniel Ebbs
since: 08/2012
Follow >
Thiessen Law Firm
since: 11/2011
Like >
Visit website