Butte men face tougher sentences if found guilty of 10th DUI | Biden News


Two Butte men with nine previous DUI convictions face their 10th felony charge and now face more severe penalties under enhanced penalties passed by the Montana Legislature last year.

They previously faced a maximum of five years in prison or the Montana Department of Corrections, but that is now the minimum and 25 years the maximum.

Wallace Arney, 62, and Scott Anthony Lamb, 63, were arraigned Thursday and pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs as a fourth or subsequent offense. Lamb also pleaded not guilty to criminal endangerment.

District Judge Kurt Krueger accepted the request and scheduled the next hearing for December 15. Lamb had previously posted bail, but Arnie remained jailed on $100,000 bond.

The Legislature passed a bill to increase penalties for fifth and subsequent convictions during the 2021 legislative session, and Gov. Greg Gianforte signed it into law.

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The fifth now carries a maximum prison term of 10 years, the sixth is punishable by up to 25 years, and the seventh or more carries a mandatory five-year term that cannot be suspended, with the possibility of up to another 20 years. Five or more convictions also carry mandatory fines of $5,000 to $10,000.

Ann Shea, Butte-Silver Bow County State’s Attorney, said Thursday that she was pleased the Legislature increased the potential penalties, calling it a matter of public safety.

She noted that the previous maximum of five years did not mean that these offenders would serve that much. These decisions are made by the Montana Department of Corrections, and many criminals serve nothing of the sort.

The law came into effect on January 1, which means that people who are in a state of alcohol intoxication after that date and in the future are subject to more severe punishment.

Lamb was last arrested on September 22, and Arnie was detained on October 4.

According to prosecutors, Arnie was walking into the Town Pump in Butte asking for someone to jump in his truck and was reportedly intoxicated and angry. A police officer arrived in the parking lot and Arnie got out of his truck.

The cop said he saw a bottle of vodka in the truck and after checking with the dispatcher told Arnie he had nine previous incidents. Arnie admitted he had been drinking and when asked how much he said “too much”.

He was arrested and registered with a blood alcohol level of 0.212. Driving while intoxicated is considered a level 0.08.

Lamb was arrested after an A-1 Ambulance driver called police to say he was following a driver in a Ford Ranger who nearly collided head-on with two cars while driving south on Rowe Road the night of Sept. 22.

An officer spotted a pickup truck with its lights on in a driveway on Gaylord Street with Lamb driving, according to filings. A check of his driving record revealed that he had nine prior convictions in various states.

He was booked on another alleged DUI stop, and prosecutors also charged him with felony reckless endangerment for nearly hitting two other drivers. This is punishable by up to 10 years and a fine of up to $50,000.

Lawmakers weighing whether to legalize weed face some tough questions, like: How high is too high to drive? What exactly qualifies as “drunk driving” when it comes to weed? In general, the penalties for marijuana-related DUI are the same as for alcohol-related convictions. Consequences for a first offense can include a license suspension of 90 days to a year, fines of $500 to $2,000, and/or up to a year in jail. Although this may sound simple, it is not. When you research how exactly law enforcement can determine, let alone know, that someone is actively driving under the influence, things can get a little more complicated. There is a solid scientific basis that anyone with a blood alcohol content of 0.8 or higher is too drunk to drive. , but there is no agreement or clarity on what that level should be for marijuana. “They’ve tried to do it with marijuana, and frankly, it hasn’t happened yet,” said Chip Siegel, an attorney who specializes in alcohol law. Siegel The problems with the legality of marijuana use have meant that no meaningful research has been done on its effects. Without substantial research, laws are based on arbitrary measures.” Maybe one day the NHTSA or other government agencies, other scientific agencies will calm down and say, “Okay, this is the level that anyone who has marijuana in their system is just too “Right now, we just don’t have that number. In fact, there is no specific way to determine if someone is dangerously under the influence of drugs while driving, but marijuana-related DUI cases are often cited as a reason for not legalizing the drug. A 2020 study found that in Washington state, where marijuana has been legal since 2012, the percentage of fatal crashes in which drivers tested positive for THC, the main psychoactive substance in marijuana, has doubled. years later The study made national headlines and was cited by politicians who expressed concerns about stoned driving as a reason to ban weed. But while these results likely reflect the fact that more people are using marijuana now that it’s legal, they didn’t show that it was actually THC impairment that caused the crashes. It only showed that THC was present in the drivers’ systems at the time of the crash. THC by nature is a substance that can be detected in our system for up to 90 days in hair, anywhere from three days to a month or longer. urine, up to 48 hours in saliva and up to 36 hours in blood. But those numbers can change depending on how much, how often, and how you consume it, so technically someone could ingest or smoke weed days before actually getting behind the wheel, but detect an illegal amount of THC if pulled over. Studies have shown that marijuana use does impair the ability to drive, but current methods of proving that someone is actually drunk behind the wheel are shaky at best. This is a major concern, as recreational marijuana is legal in 18 states and Washington, DC as of 2022. , and medical marijuana is legal in 36 states and the District of Columbia. According to Ballotpedia, there are at least 20 marijuana-related measures in nine states that could go before voters at the ballot box this fall. A look at the latest Gallup poll found that 68% of Americans support the legalization of marijuana. Gallup data shows that a majority of Americans have supported the idea since at least 2013, but federally, marijuana has been classified as a controlled substance under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, making its possession and use illegal. The US House of Representatives attempted to change that by passing a marijuana reform bill in early April of this year. The bill is currently being considered in the Senate, where experts say it will most likely be rejected. So while we’re nowhere near federal legalization, legal weed in many states means the problem of accurately identifying DUI marijuana is one that still needs solving.


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