Defense attorney Jesse Harper successfully argued for his client Nicolas Hernandez’s constitutional rights in a delayed OWI case. Harper emphasized that the four-year gap in prosecuting Hernandez for an alleged vehicle crash and intoxication incident violated his right to a speedy trial. Hernandez, a U.S. Army veteran, was unexpectedly arrested at a hospital visit, despite living in the same region and not evading the charge.
The case dates back to September 11, 2019, when Hernandez reportedly crashed his car in Indiana, resulting in a hospital visit and a sobriety test indicating high alcohol levels. Despite prosecutors filing charges immediately after the incident, an arrest warrant was inexplicably delayed until September 2023.
Harper highlighted the prejudice suffered by Hernandez due to the delay, including memory loss of key details, which Deputy Prosecutor Mark Acevedo attributed to the crash’s impact rather than the delay. Despite Acevedo’s belief that the delay didn’t prejudice Hernandez, Harper’s defense underscored the significant impact of the prolonged period on Hernandez’s legal rights and personal life. The case involved a felony count of OWI with a prior conviction and several lesser charges.