Repeat DUI offenses pose problems for justice system - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Repeat DUI offenses pose problems for justice system

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Those in the fight against drunk driving say two recent arrests are proof something needs to change.

Last week, Michael Dotson picked up his fifth DUI arrest. This time, police say he crashed his car into another car with a case of beer and his wife in the passenger seat.

Meanwhile, Ivan Johnson got his seventh DUI after he ran a red light and refused a sobriety test. He even allegedly told the officer, 'I'm too messed up to walk.'

Davidson County's DUI prosecutor, Kyle Anderson, says the problem is there are two kind of DUI people: the majority who do it once and never do it again, and the dangerous minority who never stop.

"Most first offenders don't re-offend. I mean, very few re-offend. The penalties for DUI first offense as a misdemeanor are quite severe and keep most people from ever doing it again. The people who do re-offend, we can put them in jail over and over again. That doesn't seem to stop them," Anderson said.

Part of the problem is there is nothing really to keep them in jail. Even a fourth DUI sentence is based on prior felonies, not prior DUI offenses, so it's a sentence of one to two years.

And a seventh DUI offense is a maximum sentence of six years. So, in other words, these drivers and their drinking problems are getting out of jail.

DUIs are actually going down in Davidson County, but the repeat offenders pose huge problems for the system.

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