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Apparent filing error leads to 4-year delay in Porter County OWI arrest, motion to dismiss

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2023 | News

Nicolas Hernandez, a 28-year-old U.S. Army veteran, found himself facing an alleged felony drunken driving charge dating back four years when he was unexpectedly arrested on October 10 while visiting his sister at a local hospital. Attorney Jesse Harper, representing Hernandez, pointed out that the arrest warrant had inexplicably remained unfiled with the county clerk until September 20, 2023, significantly delaying the legal proceedings. Harper contended that this delay violated Hernandez’s constitutional right to a speedy trial and called for the charges to be dismissed. Porter Superior Court Judge Mike Drenth was reviewing Harper’s request.

Porter County Deputy Prosecutor Mark Acevedo did not dispute the timeline presented by Harper but opposed the case’s dismissal, arguing that the four-year delay had not prejudiced Hernandez. Harper countered that the extended time had caused Hernandez to forget crucial details related to the incident, including interactions with the police and events at the hospital.

The case originated from a September 11, 2019, incident where Hernandez allegedly crashed his vehicle near Ind. 49 and Ind. 2, registering a blood-alcohol concentration nearly three times the legal limit. While prosecutors had requested an arrest warrant on the day of the crash and filed charges on September 12, 2019, the arrest warrant was not filed with the county clerk until September 20, 2023. Hernandez faced charges of felony OWI with a prior conviction and multiple lesser OWI charges. Harper emphasized that Hernandez had not evaded arrest and had received no information from the State about the charges filed against him.Edit Description