HAMILTON - After his appeal failed, a Hamilton man will spend a few more days in jail for driving under the influence.

District Judge James Haynes, who normally doesn't see drunken-driving offenders until after their third conviction, was called upon Thursday to sentence first-time DUI offender Stuart Laurence Lozon.

Lozon ended up in Haynes' court because he appealed the guilty verdict he received from a City Court jury on March 23. Based on the verdict, City Court Judge Michael Reardon gave Lozon 60 days in jail with 55 suspended, and a $1,000 fine with $500 suspended for misdemeanor DUI.

The appeal went to trial in Haynes' court on Aug. 31, and a second jury found Lozon guilty.

The charges were brought on July 6, 2010, after a patrolman saw Lozon fail to stop at a stop sign in Hamilton, according to court records. He followed Lozon's car while dispatch ran a check of the license plate. The officer stopped Lozon after learning his driver's license was revoked.

The patrolman said Lozon showed signs of being drunk, and when asked, Lozon said he had consumed more than two 16-ounce beers at a barbecue more than an hour before. Lozon allegedly failed a field sobriety test, and a Breathalyzer test indicated he had more than twice the allowable blood alcohol content.

The DUI charge went to trial, but Lozon pleaded no contest to failing to stop at a stop sign, and driving without a license and without insurance, for which he received fines. He has previous arrests for driving without a license.

During the trial, the jury was not told the Breathalyzer result because the test had not been overseen by an expert.

At sentencing Thursday, Deputy City Attorney Jennifer Lint asked Haynes for a sentence of 30 days in jail with no time suspended. Lint said this wasn't really Lozon's first DUI because he had previous DUI arrests. But two were in Arizona, so she didn't have the details, and one had been bargained down to a charge of reckless driving.

"He has not made any payments since 2010 toward his previous fines and he has not served his required jail time," Lint said. "We are underwhelmed by his ability to obey traffic laws or abide by sentences. This should not be sentenced as a standard DUI."

Defense attorney Reed Mandelko had his 31-year-old client take the stand to explain not paying his fines. Lozon said he thought he didn't have to pay any fines while his case was under appeal.

Mandelko argued that the charge of first DUI was apt, so Judge Reardon's sentence shouldn't be increased.

"I don't think my client's exercise of his rights to appeal should be held against him," Mandelko said.

Haynes gave Lozon the same fine but increased the jail sentence to six months with all but 10 days suspended.

"You do have the right to appeal, but you can't appear in my court, go under oath and throw up a bunch of smoke and mirrors as to why you weren't paying your fines," Haynes said. "Your past offenses should have been warnings, and they are indicators that you are irresponsible to society."

Reporter Laura Lundquist can be reached at 363-3300 or at laura.lundquist@ravallirepublic.com.

 

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