Drunk Driver Convicted after Falling Asleep at Stoplight
Prosecutors in District Attorney General Charme Allen’s DUI Unit obtained convictions against a drunk driver who fell asleep at a stoplight. Luis Alexis Briceno, 25, was convicted of Driving Under the Influence Second Offense, Driving on Revoked License, and Failure to Provide Evidence of Financial Responsibility. Judge Steve Sword set the case for sentencing on June 24, 2021, where Briceno faces a minimum of forty-five days in jail.
In a two-day trial, Assistant District Attorneys Greg Eshbaugh and Oscar Butler explained to the jury that on May 9, 2018, shortly after 6:00 A.M., Knoxville Police Department Officer Hayden Cochran responded to a call of an impaired driver at the intersection of Kingston Pike and Morrell Road. A citizen had called KPD because Briceno appeared to be asleep or unconscious in the driver’s seat of the vehicle. The citizen told Ofc. Cochran that Briceno had not moved for several light cycles, and he was concerned that Briceno may have overdosed. Upon contact with Briceno, officers observed a strong odor of alcohol, mumbled speech, and bloodshot eyes. Briceno failed field sobriety tests and submitted to a breathalyzer that revealed his blood alcohol content to be 0.155, nearly twice the legal limit of 0.08. Briceno’s driver’s license was revoked from a DUI conviction the previous year.
“DUI enforcement saves lives,” said DA Charme Allen. “Luckily, no one was injured in this case because a concerned citizen alerted law enforcement to this dangerous situation.”
At sentencing, Briceno faces a sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days with a minimum sentence of forty-five days in custody. In addition to finding him guilty, the jury assessed the maximum fine of $3,500. His license will also be revoked for a period of two years.
Repeat Drunk Driver Convicted at Trial
Prosecutors in DA Charme Allen’s DUI Unit obtained convictions against a drunk driver with four prior DUI convictions whose blood alcohol content was still over twice the legal limit three hours after driving. Tinisha Nicole Spencer, 45, was convicted of DUI Fourth or Subsequent. Judge Scott Green set the case for sentencing on July 23 where Spencer faces a minimum of one hundred and fifty days in jail.
In a two-day trial, Assistant District Attorneys Oscar Butler and Joe Welker explained to the jury that on October 20, 2018, University of Tennessee Police Department Officer Michael Tomlin observed a vehicle driven by Spencer driving at a high rate of speed on Cumberland Avenue at 17th Street. Upon contact with Spencer, Ofc. Tomlin could smell a strong odor of alcohol. Spencer failed all field sobriety tests and refused to submit to a blood draw. Ofc. Tomlin then sought and obtained a search warrant for the Defendant’s blood to determine her blood alcohol content. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation crime lab tested the blood and determined that even after three hours, Spencer had a blood alcohol content of 0.18, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08.
“We are continuing to aggressively prosecute DUI cases because impaired driving can have such a devastating effect,” said DA Allen. “You cannot avoid prosecution by refusing to submit to a blood draw.”
Spencer has four prior DUI convictions in Knox County, Mississippi, and Louisiana. DUI Fourth or Subsequent is a Class E felony that carries a minimum punishment of one hundred and fifty days in jail, a $3000 fine, and license revocation of eight years.
District Attorney General: Charme P. Allen
Charme P. Allen is a veteran prosecutor with nearly 30 years of experience with the Office of the Knox County District Attorney General. In 2014, General Allen was elected as the District Attorney General of the 6thJudicial District, and she is honored with the distinction of being the first female elected to this position in the history of Knox County.
Following in the footsteps of her law enforcement family from Georgia, General Allen earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from West Georgia College in 1987 and her Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1990. Soon thereafter she became a full-time Assistant District Attorney General, pursuing her passion of seeking justice and helping victims of crimes, with a special emphasis on child abuse prosecution for the majority of her career.
General Allen relies upon her lifelong experience with law enforcement to pursue a multi-dimensional approach to prosecution. Her model for successful prosecution not only involves enforcing the law and seeking punishment for crime, but it also requires a dedication to the prevention of crime at its source in our community. Since taking office, General Allen has implemented many new policies and procedures, and has created teams of special prosecution units as well as a Community Affairs Unit in order to achieve her goal of being “Tough on Crime, Smart on Prevention.”
While overseeing a staff of more than 80 professionals, General Allen’s role as the county’s top law enforcement officer has given her the opportunity to address criminal justice issues on a larger scale. Much of her time as D.A. is gladly devoted to working in the community, discussing and addressing a wide variety of topics related to the justice system and public safety. She is, also, pleased to be active on the boards of numerous local agencies and organizations.