Nebraska is well-known in the United States as one of the states that is the harshest on DUI offenders. Nebraska judges don’t mix words when they hand out some of the toughest sentences to be found in the country. A Lincoln Nebraska man found that out recently when he was sentenced for his March 29th DUI charge. Cass County District Court Judge Michael A. Smith handed Frederick C. Baxter a 36-month sentence for his felony DUI charge. He’s already served 153 days of that sentence in the Nebraska Department of Corrections.
The Cass County Nebraska judge is one of the most feared judges for any DUI offender. 45-year-old Baxter found that out very quickly during his sentencing. Calling Baxter a “danger to society,” he handed down the sentence even though Baxter’s defense team had argued for a probationary period. The judge decided to ignore that suggestion and instead sentenced Baxter to 36 months in prison.
The sentence stemmed from an incident on March 29th when Baxter was pulled over on I-80. This wasn’t Baxter’s first brush with a DUI charge. He was already on release supervision after a DUI arrest in Lancaster County where he had served a total of 18 months for a DUI for a 2015 DUI charge. His bond was set at $50,000.
County Attorney Rick Fedde prosecuted the case. Baxter’s blood alcohol concentration at the time of his arrest was .229, well over the legal limit. Baxter has 5 DUIs in his lifetime, though thanks to reductions, it counted as his third. This is a common method of courts to give offenders yet another chance to turn their lives around and perhaps get some help instead of another DUI. For Baxter, the leniency just hasn’t worked. Fedde also described a “significant criminal history” for Baxter that may have contributed to the harsher penalty. The state argued that Baxter was a danger to the public and the judge readily agreed during sentencing, ignoring the request for probation instead of imprisonment.
As the defense pointed out, Baxter has had a lifetime of alcohol and substance abuse problems that contributed to this DUI. They strongly favored another probationary period for Baxter but the request fell on deaf ears with the judge. Baxter himself pleaded for probation, too, saying that since he was 15 years old he’s had substance and alcohol problems that have sent him to prison numerous times. He argued that this time he was ready to change. He’ll still have the opportunity to change but it will be during another 36 months in jail.
Judge Smith listed many things as contributing to the harsh sentence. First were the prior DUI convictions, the lengthy criminal history, and the high BAC level at the time of the arrest. He did say that he hoped Baxter would find the help he needs during the probationary period of 18 months that will follow the imprisonment. The sentence will be served concurrently with the 200-day sentence from the Lancaster County incident. The new DUI was a violation of the terms of that probation and Baxter was right back in court on another DUI.
This case emphasizes many of the points made on sites like DUIwise. The <a href=”https://duiwise.com/dui-cost/”>cost of a DUI case can be exceedingly high not just financially but personally</a>. Not only will Baxter face massive jail time for his DUI but he also had to pay for the services of a good DUI lawyer. Keep in mind that paying for that lawyer probably saved him, even more, prison time. Without a good DUI lawyer, Baxter probably could have faced many more years in jail and even steeper fines.
Someone who is charged with multiple DUIs will inevitably face more jail time than a first time offender. A chronic offender like Baxter will often benefit early on from lawyers who can reduce the charges. For example, Baxter has had 5 DUIs in his lifetime but he only has 3 on record. This is the result of having had a good lawyer at some point in his past. Even on his 4th real charge, Baxter received probation. Sites like DUIwise help people like Baxter get the legal help they desperately need in these cases.
As you can see from the 36-month sentence, the price for a DUI is extremely high, especially in states like Nebraska. If you’re arrested anywhere in Nebraska for a DUI, chances are that you’re going to face a much steeper penalty for that DUI, and judges in Nebraska are not shy about dishing out jail sentences for DUI. The philosophy is that by handing out punishment like fines and jail, an offender will eventually get the help they need before they seriously hurt themselves or someone else on the road. A DUI charge is still much less than what could happen in you drive drunk and kill someone on the road, so Nebraska judges take a very hardline approach to DUI crimes.
DUIwise.com strives to help DUI defendants find the legal help they need before it’s too late and they do hurt someone on the road or end up in prison. Good lawyers will work with prosecutors and judges to ensure that the person charged with a DUI gets help instead of jail time. Often these lawyers can have the charges reduced or even thrown out altogether. Without a good lawyer, though, someone in Nebraska is facing an uphill battle against Nebraska judges.
Baxter will immediately continue serving his time in the Nebraska Department of Corrections. As he’s admitted, he has a lifetime of substance abuse and alcoholism, beginning at the young age of 15. What he remembers most is that he’s spent time in jail since then. One can only hope that with this new chance to stay off the roads, Baxter will face the substance abuse that continues to hinder him from living a productive, happy life. Maybe this time will be the time that Baxter looks at his substance abuse and finally turns his life around for the better.