Snohomish County Judge Cannot Sentence Man Arrested for 16th DUI as Harshly as She Would Like

On Tuesday May 20, Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Marybeth Dingledy sentenced 53-year-old Timothy Hansen to three years in jail. She would have sentenced Hansen to prison she said, but cannot send him there due to Washington law. While Hansen has been arrested 16 times for driving under the influence and convicted nine times over the past 27 years, he has not been convicted four times within a 10-year period.

Under Washington law, an individual must be convicted for DUI four times within 10 years to be charged with a felony and receive prison time. According to a news article at KIRO TV, Hansen has pleaded to lesser charges so therefore has three convictions during a 10-year time period. The judge did sentence him to three years in jail, which was more than the prosecutor in the case had requested. Judge Dingledy said at Hansen’s sentencing hearing “Given how many chances you’ve had I can’t give you another one. I’m going to hit you with everything.”

The judge also told Hansen that it amazed her he had not hurt anyone as many times as he has driven while intoxicated. While he refused the breathalyzer in his latest arrest, it was found that Hansen’s BAC (blood alcohol concentration) was more than twice the legal limit when blood was drawn by doctors a few hours later.

In the state of Michigan, individuals who are determined to be operating a vehicle with a BAC of .17% or more (twice the legal limit of .08% in Michigan) will be charged with a super drunk OWI offense. A first high BAC offense leaves the accused facing criminal penalties that include fines of up to $700, up to six months in jail, driver’s license suspension for one year, and more if convicted.

Additionally, a third DUI offense in an individual’s lifetime is considered a felony in Michigan. The consequences of a third OWI conviction include up to 5 years in prison, driver’s license revocation for five years of more, steep fines, community service, vehicle immobilization, and more. DUI is a very serious offense in Michigan as well as across the U.S. Anyone who is arrested for driving under the influence must work with a highly capable and experienced defense attorney in order to minimize the damage as much as possible. Not only do those found guilty face harsh criminal penalties, but damage to their careers and reputation as well. The damaging consequences are far-reaching.

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