A DUI conviction (driving under the influence) can result in a harsh jail sentence. Some states even require first offenders to spend a few days in jail, while other states only reserve jail time for repeat offenders with more than two convictions.
Unfortunately jail time doesn’t stop every offender, and repeat offenders who have gone to jail don’t always learn their lesson. Take Donald Middleton of Houston, Texas for example: he’s spent time in jail for eight DUI convictions, but he didn’t stop drinking and driving. Instead he drove on to his ninth arrest, and now he’s going to spend the rest of his days behind bars.
The judge who presided over his ninth DUI conviction made the decision to hand down a life in prison sentence because his previous stints in prison didn’t work. He was in prison four times, and his eighth DUI conviction resulted in a 13-year prison term that ended with him spending only four years in jail.
His ninth arrest stemmed from an incident where he turned into the wrong lane and collided head-on with another vehicle. He hit a 16-year-old teen who was on his way home from work, and when he realized what he did, he ran into a store and asked the clerk to hide him.
When police took his blood alcohol concentration (BAC) via breathalyzer, he registered at 0.184. He made the decision to plead guilty and he’s been sitting in jail waiting for his sentencing. It might sound harsh, but that sentence of life in prison was handed down because he’s now classified as a habitual offender. He’ll be eligible for parole in 30 years, but because he’s already 56 years old, he may not see the outside of the jail cell again.
Some would argue that the sentence is too harsh for the crime of drinking and driving, but there are offenders who will continue to drink and drive over and over again despite repeat DUI convictions. These are the people who need to be taken right off the road, and if jail is the only way to do that, that’s the best option to keep people safe.