Most people would agree that those who have committed crimes or make mistakes deserve a second chance. We all make mistakes, so it’s difficult to argue against a second chance, and sometimes even a third, but how about a 17th time? Not when it comes to driving under the influence (DUI.)
It’s difficult to believe that someone can get to such a high number of DUIs, but Timothy Jones, 54, will now be sent to 36 months in prison for his 17 Operating Under the Influence (OVI) convictions and will have his driving privileges revoked for life after his license has been suspended 42 times. Thirty-six months is the maximum allowable prison sentence for DUI in the state of Ohio.
The kicker? Mr. Jones is facing an additional 3 DUI charges in Franklin County, Ohio. Jones was convicted of the 17th DUI this past Monday, May 8. Jones admitted guilt to the offense in county court, and then plead guilty to a bill of information.
Jones’s defense argues that there was no accident nor an enhanced field test leading up to his latest conviction, though Belmont County Judge Frank Fregiato has tossed all that those complaints due to the sheer number of prior OVI convictions.
“I believe there’s absolutely no one in this courtroom who has any doubt that if this defendant was permitted to walk out of this courtroom, that he would drink and drive today and tomorrow and the next day and every day after that,” Fregiato said. “Seventeen DUI convictions is more than a mind can grapple with.”
Fregiato continued, calling Jones an incredible risk to not just Belmont County, but for the entire state of Ohio.
Fregiato’s sentence comes as more areas are stepping up the penalties for DUI, they dissuade people from ever getting behind the wheel when they’ve had one too many.
Colorado recently made a 4th DUI charge an automatic felony, and many other states have imposed stricter penalties for first-time offenders as well. The hope is that the new types of charges will keep people like Timothy Jones from putting the danger in public.
Thank you Matthew Martin for sharing this news story with us.