By Chris Kramer
A judge in rural Ravalli County in northwestern Montana recently sent a message to a state that, among other notorieties, saw a local representative try to repeal DUI laws this year.
Judge James Haynes sentenced Scott Adams, a 40 year-old Montana resident, to 15 years in state prison after Adams was convicted of driving under the influence for the sixth time.
Adams, who lives in Stevensville, Montana, has previously received three probationary sentences for his drinking and driving habits. The judge revoked these sentences when he issued his final decree.
According to The Missoulian, Adams’ sixth DUI charge violated three probationary sentences stemming from previous drunk driving incidents.
The first sentence was due to a 2005 incident in which Adams was charged with seven different crimes after a drunk driving accident. He was eventually charged with a felony DUI—his fifth such offense—and received a five-year suspended sentence.
In 2005, Adams also completed a rehabilitation and treatment program.
This incident, however, came on the heels of a 2004 accident in which Adams received another felony DUI charge—his fourth such conviction.
This crime revoked a third probationary sentence he’d received in 1998 after being charged with felony burglary and forgery. This sentence, though, was reduced to misdemeanor theft after Adams agreed to a six-year probationary period.
This long history of criminal behavior came back to haunt Adams after DUI number six. Adams’ own probation officer stated in a report that Adams saw felony probation as “somewhat of a game.”
His probation officer also reported that Adams would not stop drinking and driving until he “hurts or kills someone.” Fortunately, it appears no one was injured in his latest binge, but the judge also felt that Adams posed a serious threat to others.
Adams must serve five years in prison for each of his last three felony DUI charges. In addition, he must serve a year in a detention center for the past theft charges.
The judge saw imprisonment as the only possible method to keep Adams off Montana’s highways.
The dangers of drunk driving have been a hot topic in Montana after a state representative made an impassioned plea earlier this year for the state to repeal its drunk driving laws.
He argued that DUI laws were preventing people from going to local drinking establishments, thereby hurting the local economy.
Alas, this idea never came to pass, but it did stir up some national press coverage, to the chagrin of many Montana residents.