Prosecutors in Missouri say that a 56-year-old Greene County man could be sent to prison for the rest of his life after being charged as habitual drunk driver. The Springfield resident was charged with his eighth DWI in August 2018. On April 22, a warrant was issued for the man’s arrest after he had been designated as a habitual offender on April 19. He has been charged with a Class B felony that carries a custodial sentence of between 10 years and life. A records check reveals that he was convicted of his first DWI in 1983.
The man’s most recent brush with the law came after concerned citizens called the Springfield Police Department to report a possibly intoxicated driver. The callers told emergency operators that they saw an Isuzu Rodeo SUV strike a parked car as it entered a South Luster Avenue apartment complex parking lot. Responding police officers claim the man was so intoxicated that he was unable to stand without assistance. His blood alcohol concentration was allegedly .256 percent at the time. This is more than three times the .08 percent legal limit in Missouri.
Drivers in Missouri can face a D Class felony count after being arrested for drunk driving for the third time. Subsequent arrests can result in Class C or Class B felony charges. The habitual offender designation is applied with the sixth drunk driving offense. Prior to his 2018 arrest, the man was last charged with drunk driving in 2004.
Experienced criminal defense attorneys may argue against harsh custodial sentences being handed down to nonviolent offenders. This may be especially true when the offender in question faces decades in prison for being a habitual offender despite not being in trouble with the law for 15 years as in the case above.
Source: The Times Union, Missouri man charged with eighth DWI, Associated Press, April 25, 2019