DUI Arrest No. 13 is End of the Line for South Dakota Man
By: Chris Kramer
In Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a man was sentenced to a two-year prison sentence after he pled guilty to his thirteenth DUI arrest. Dennis Harris was arrested and pled guilty to third-offense DUI. Because of his guilty plea, other charges were dropped.
Harris, 46, was arrested in early June and charged with driving under the influence, as well as additional charges of obstruction of a police officer, disorderly conduct and having an open alcoholic beverage container in his car, according to The Daily Republic. The additional charges that will be dropped as a result of his guilty plea cooperation.
Harris has compiled his 12 previous DUI arrests over a 28-year period, starting in 1982. Several of them came before he had even turned eighteen years of age. Despite his lengthy record, under South Dakota DUI law, since Harris was only on his third offense in the last decade, he was charged with the so-called “third-offense” law.
On June 10, the day of Harris’ latest arrest, police got a traffic complaint call that involved Harris’ vehicle. According to police records, Harris came to a nearly complete stop in the middle of a highway off-ramp when he saw a police officer up ahead at the ramp, waiting for him to pass by.
Then Harris reportedly gunned his engine and sped off from the bottom of the off-ramp. Local sheriff Steve Harr was finally able to pull him over to the side of the road. He then asked for documentation and requested that Harris step out of the vehicle.
According to Harr, Harris told the sheriff that he had a different idea and put his hand on his gear shifter. Harr drew out his taser and argued with Harris for a moment until Harris finally took his hand off of the shifter. Harris turned off his car, but he refused to exit the vehicle.
At that point, Harr reportedly saw that Harris had an open whiskey bottle in his car, and he forced Harris to hand it over to him. When Harris finally got out of the car, he started walking toward Harr’s patrol car abnormally quickly. Harris refused to stop when the police asked him to, and for that he was rewarded with a pair of handcuffs and placed in the front seat.
Harris would once more refuse to leave patrol car’s front seat when backup arrived, so police had to drag him from the vehicle again.
Once they arrived at the county jail, Harris once more refused to get out of the car, then reportedly spit on everyone around him and threatened to “bite someone’s nose off.”
Harris' DUI attorney admitted that Harris had a serious alcohol problem, and the judge sentenced Harris to prison stating that Harris presented a threat to public safety due to his numerous DUI prosecutions.