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Man sentenced to prison for 10th DUI

One man in Colorado was arrested for the 10th time for driving under the influence. The man, who pleaded guilty, now faces three years behind prison bars. He is 54.

The man's 10th DUI came following a vehicle crash. He pleaded guilty to driving under the influence without getting sentencing concessions. He potentially faced six years under DUI laws that were newly toughened to make prison time an option for repeat drunk drivers. The state governor last year signed a bill that made it a felony to have a fourth DUI, with the felony being punishable by between two and six years behind prison bars as well as a potential fine of $500,000. Before the new rules, many repeat offenders simply received tickets.

The judge in this case could have given the man a community-based incarceration program or probation. However, he selected a prison sentence due to the number of the man's previous offenses, which dated back about three decades. In exchange for pleading guilty, it was agreed that the man would have his other charges dropped, including not carrying insurance and careless driving.

People in Colorado who are accused of DUI have the right to proceed to trial to vigorously contest the charges, with the prosecution having to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt before any conviction can be handed down. A defendant may also accept a plea deal, if offered, as plea bargaining may lead to a more personally favorable sentence for the accused. The criminal defense will strive for the outcome that is in the defendant's best interests considering the circumstances surrounding the case.

Source: gazette.com, "Colorado Springs man gets prison time for 10th DUI", Lance Benzel, Jan. 27, 2016

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