This week a man was sentenced by Champaign County court to 45 years in prison after being convicted of his 8th DWI charge.
48-year-old Carter Puckett was arrested last summer for aggravated DUI – the eighth such offense in his lifetime. Puckett was pulled over after police witnessed him swerving erratically in and out of his lane. The arresting officer reported that Puckett’s speech was slurred, and his breath reeked of alcohol.
Puckett blew a blood alcohol concentration of .15 – almost double the Illinois legal limit of .08.
Due to his record of 7 prior drunk driving charges, Puckett could have been sentenced to anywhere from 6 to 60 years jail time. The judge ultimately decided to sentence him to 45 years.
Brett Appelman Comments
An eighth DUI is charged as a Class X Felony, the highest criminal charge in Illinois, aside from Murder. The legislature decided that having that many DUI convictions means that you are such a danger to society that you need to be locked up for a long period of time. The absolute minimum time you would spend in prison based on this charge is six years. This charge is not eligible for probation or any type of suspended sentence – if you are convicted for an eighth DUI you WILL go to prison for a minimum of six years.
Even though in this case the defendant did not cause an accident, injure anyone, or do anything else that would have aggravated his charges, the fact that it is his eighth DUI case mandated that he be charged as a Class X. Even a second DUI charge carries a mandatory minimum of five days in jail or 240 hours of Community Service.