Drunk driver threatens to strip and strangle Houston police officer
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A 31-year-old Houston man is behind bars on a felony charge of driving while intoxicated after being arrested late Sunday, accused of his third DWI.

Houston police started pursuing Trent Margiotta after he allegedly ran a red light while making a u-turn on South Dairy Ashford about 2:30 a.m. Sunday. Court records show he drove recklessly at a high rate of speed while gesturing with his middle finger at the officers.

After being stopped, officers noticed the strong odor of alcohol, unsteadiness and red, glossy eyes. While slurring his speech, Margiotta allegedly threatened to strip and strangle a male police officer.

His attorney, J.L. Carpenter, said she is investigating the allegations and is waiting to see the results of a blood or breath test before commenting on the case.

During a probable cause hearing Monday, prosecutors with the Harris County District Attorney's Office said Margiotta was aggressive toward police and told them he would get off easy. He said they would pay when he got out of jail.

After being transported to the police station and asked how much he had to drink, Margiotta allegedly laughed and said he was not drunk enough. He also volunteered that he loved cocaine, but had not taken any drugs recently, court records show.

He was charged with felony DWI because he had been arrested in 2011 and 2012 for DWI and pleaded guilty in both cases. If convicted, he could face 10 years in prison.

He remains in the Harris County Jail after a magistrate judge set his bail at $25,000.

Prosecutors had asked for no bail after reviewing Margiotta's long criminal record.

When he was arrested Sunday morning, he was free on a $25,000 bond after he had been accused of choking his girlfriend in September.

He was arrested on that charge three months after having a domestic violence case dismissed because he took an anger management course. In that case, he was accused of hitting a different woman with whom he had a dating relationship.

Margiotta's first arrest was in 2008 for throwing an object through a woman's window and fleeing police. In that case, he escaped convicted by completing six months of probation.
He also escaped conviction in 2009 after successfully spending a year on probation after hitting a man with his car.

In 2010, Margiotta was arrested for lying to police officers about whether he was the driver of a car involved in a wreck. The circumstances of that case are not clear from court records. The case was dismissed after his attorney showed there was not an underlying criminal investigation, which is an element of the crime.

Brian Rogers is the Legal Affairs Reporter for the Houston Chronicle. Follow him on twitter.com/brianjrogers

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