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Man sentenced to 7 years in Virginia for DUI

A man with a lengthy history of drunk driving offenses has been jailed in Spotsylvania, Virginia.

A judge sentenced the 44-year-old man, who has at least a dozen DUI convictions in a variety of states, to seven years in prison. The Spotsylvania Commonwealth district attorney said judges had not been entirely strict on the man through the years. Additionally, the man managed to elude jail in some jurisdictions by going on the run after a number of convictions.

Since 1990, according to the prosecutor, the man has faced 10 DUI charges in several southern states and another in the Pacific Northwest. Additionally, he was arrested in Spotsylvania last year and finally taken into custody in Colonial Heights, Williamsburg.

The prosecutor said that years ago, the man was not jailed but instead received fines. A legal observer said that years ago, courts did not take DUI offenses as seriously as they do now. In this case, the judge gave the man the maximum sentence possible, which the legal observer said reflects the times. Laws in nearly every state are becoming stricter, he said.

In Virginia, three DUI charges constitute a felony. Those convictions for drinking and driving do not have to have occurred in Virginia but can stem from incidents in any state.

While the man was fined for his early offenses, years ago, courts should have intervened and also sentenced the man to alcohol treatment. Had the man been sentenced to an alcohol-diversion program years ago, his life could have been different. Intervention and alcohol-rehabilitation programs have been showed to work and to help alcoholics fight the urge to drink. Using these types of programs is beneficial not only to the individual, but it also helps to keep the jail population low.

Source: NBC12, "Man in Spotsylvania racks up 12 DUI charges across country," Kelly Avellino, Nov. 18, 2012

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