A man in Missoula was recently charged with a disturbing 6th DUI charge. The man, Taylor Roberts, faced a hearing with presiding District Court Judge Robert Deschamps. The exchanges involved in this court hearing demonstrate just how seriously that judges take a DUI offense, especially one that ranks as the second or more offense. Felony DUI offenses aren’t as common as misdemeanor DUI charges in Montana, so a judge looking at someone who managed to pick up a 6th DUI is exceedingly rare.
The circumstances surrounding the 6th arrest were indeed shocking, both to judges and to police officers in the case. Taylor Roberts was approached while he was intoxicated and starting his car in downtown Missoula. This was after an alert Uber driver noted the intoxicated man getting behind the wheel of a car. Concerned for public safety, the Uber driver alerted the police.
Once on the scene, things quickly escalated. 37-year-old Roberts not only refused to turn off the vehicle but crashed into a parked car just in front of him. Nathan Griesse, the officer on the scene, described trying to open Roberts’s door, only to be bitten by a dog in the back seat. This frightening scene was played out in court thanks to graphic descriptions by the terrified officers.
Still not stopping, Roberts then backed into the parked patrol car behind him. Officer Jerry Odlin was able to finally get Roberts to stop by pepper spraying him. The dog was also pepper sprayed. Serious cases such as this most definitely qualify as “felony DUI” which is much more serious than misdemeanor DUI charges. The result of the hearing was the judge issuing some very strong words for Roberts and making sure that he got more than a slap on the wrist for the offense.
Roberts accepted a plea agreement whereby he admitted a felony DUI charge and also admitted guilt to several misdemeanors: Careless driving, negligent endangerment, and obstructing an officer. The original plea agreement would have put Roberts behind bars for 13 months in the Montana Department of Corrections. That was to be followed by a five-year suspended sentence. The judge had other ideas.
Calling Roberts a “genuine menace,” he retorted, “I mean I might as well give him a hearty slap on the wrist and send him on his way.” Deschamps was shocked by the facts of this case and wanted a harsher penalty for Roberts. His objection was to the area of the plea that called for the total sentence to run concurrently to a sentence in Ravalli County, where Roberts had already received a two-year sentence with the DOC.
What the correction by the judge means is that Roberts will have a total of 10 years probation instead of just 5. Roberts didn’t seem to acknowledge the severity of the situation and stated that he would be leaving Montana as soon as he was out of corrections. The judge snapped back. “You’re not going anywhere until your probation officer says you can.”
This case demonstrates some important facts about DUI cases. Keep in mind that even for a 6th offense DUI, Roberts did not see the significant amount of jail time one might have expected him to receive. His lawyers had plenty of room to question the facts of the case, especially since Roberts was not yet driving when he was approached. This can sometimes reduce the sentence or call into question the DUI in general. While it’s certain that a person with a 6th offense DUI needs to receive jail time, license suspension, and high insurance rates, you’ll notice that the offender did receive less jail time than someone might think one would get for a 6th offense DUI.
As a perpetual offender, the jail time is often gradually increased over time. Websites such as DUIwise help defendants of DUI charges understand how to beat the DUI charges uses the services of lawyers. DUIwise.com contains helpful information about the seriousness of DUI charges and other topics. The purpose? To help people charged with a DUI understand that they DO have legal options.
So often people who are charged with DUI simply give up and plead guilty the day after they’re arrested. This is an unfortunate fact. As good DUI lawyers know, every DUI is unique and contains circumstances that might allow for a dismissal or reduction of the charges. Even in worst case scenarios like those faced by Roberts, an experienced and passionate attorney can step in to make sure that the person who is pleading guilty is treated fairly before the law and given their best chance to avoid another DUI in the future.
Taylor Roberts will face jail time after this 6th charge, but he will eventually be released and given yet another chance to clean up his act. With the help of a good lawyer overseeing his behavior after release, Roberts has a much better chance to meet the terms of his probation and rebuild his life for the better. Alcoholism and problem drinking is a tragedy in any society. Good people quickly become bad people who don’t seem to understand the pain and danger they hand out to society.
A good DUI lawyer like those represented on DUIWise knows how to help their clients not just during the DUI bargaining phase and/or trial but also as they complete the terms of their probation. Roberts’s future may be uncertain right now but if the outcome of his case is any indication, it’s obvious that he has a good chance of getting out in a few years and perhaps turning his life around. A good DUI lawyer will answer all of his questions during his probationary period and help him complete all of the requirements of that probation. While judges, in this case, were rightly concerned and firm, with the help of legal representation, Roberts was able to avoid a much stiffer penalty that might have put him behind bars for a very long time indeed. As for whether or not this “genuine menace” turns his life around, time will tell.