Arkansas Man Surrenders, Says Sorry and Gets Prison Time for Decade-Old Illinois DUI Arrest
By: Mike Stetzer
DUI charges may lead to much stress and concern about your future, but running is not the answer.
An Arkansas man was recently sentenced to five years in prison after fleeing Illinois charges of drunk driving from 11 years ago!
Hunter S. Johnson was arrested in 1995 on suspicion of violating Illinois DUI law.
Johnson previously had ten DUI arrests in the 1980's and 1990's, but he avoided prison each time.
Fearing that he wouldn't be so lucky after his eleventh arrest, Johnson fled to Shirley, Arkansas for the next 11-plus years.
Johnson turned himself in to Arkansas state officials on outstanding warrants in February 2006 and was returned to Boone County in Illinois.
During his Illinois DUI case, Johnson claimed that he had turned his life around in Arkansas and was looking to make amends.
Johnson had never been arrested for an Arkansas DUI and had essentially stopped drinking.
His Illinois DUI lawyer admitted that Johnson made a mistake by leaving the state but also acknowledged that his client wanted to take responsibility for his actions.
Illinois Circuit Court Judge Gerald Grubb commended Johnson for his responsibility and agreed that his current actions were sincere, but did not give the defendant any leeway in sentencing.
Grubb cited that Johnson did not take responsibility in the past for drunk driving and was a serious threat to other drivers at the time as reasons to make a harsh example out of him.
Grubb also asserted that fleeing DUI charges would not be tolerated from Johnson or anyone else.
This case reveals the importance of taking responsibility for DUI charges and getting a DUI attorney in your corner right from the outset.
Being arrested for a DUI may be a very scary experience, but fleeing the charges isn't a long-term solution, and may lead to more serious consequences in the end.
DUI charges do not automatically lead to convictions, and there may be various ways to challenge your DUI arrest.
Working with a local DUI attorney is the smart way to evaluate your situation and determine if challenging an arresting officer's questioning or testimony may be an option.
Even if these or other challenges do not apply, an attorney may be able to plea bargain your charges to lesser DUI penalties and sentencing.
These alternatives are certainly better than fleeing from DUI charges, which will likely create a perception of guilt and bring additional criminal charges in the future.