October 23, 2012

Man With 5 DUI Arrests Defies Odds by Avoiding Prison Sentence

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By guest-writer

In a frustrating end to a long saga for Sioux Falls prosecutors, a man who has been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol five different times in the past five years has been released from jail without having to serve any time in prison.

The man, 57-year-old Randall Gene Hoogendoorn, received a sentence this week that only requires him to spend two years under “intense supervision,” according to a report from The Argus Leader, a South Dakota newspaper.

Sources indicate that prosecutors asked for a lengthy sentence due to Hoogendoorn’s criminal history, but Judge Robin Houwman felt that a lesser sentence offered the man “the best opportunity for rehabilitation.”

But despite the seemingly lenient sentence, Judge Houwman established strict guidelines that Hoogdendoorn must obey.

For example, the man will have to call his probation officers up to 50 times a day in order to meet the terms of his probation. If he fails to regularly report to his probation officer, Hoogdendoorn could face a term in prison of up to 10 years.

The judge apparently believed that heavily supervised probation would best serve the public interest, which is a decision many judges often make, as it keeps another person out of prison and saves taxpayer dollars.

Nevertheless, prosecutors were very surprised that the man left court with such a light sentence. Sources say that his latest arrest occurred when his blood alcohol content was 0.24 percent, which is three times the legal limit.

The latest arrest, though, was the first felony DUI conviction for Hoogendoorn. His previous DUI arrests were all misdemeanors, according to sources.

A recent change to DUI laws in South Dakota established that a person’s third DUI offense is automatically a felony, but this provision was enacted too late to play a role in Hoogendoorn’s previous trials.

So, instead of sending Hoogendoorn to prison for 10 years, state prosecutors had to settle for a 180-day stint in jail and a two-year probationary sentence.

Sources say that Hoogendoorn will also be placed under house arrest during the initial portion of his probation and that he will be required to call his probation officer when he wakes up, when he eats, and even when he leaves his room.

As Judge Houwman put it, the man is not “just being released out into the community.” On the contrary, it seems that Hoogendoorn will be a prisoner in his own home.

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The acronyms DUI, DWI, OMVI and OVI all refer to the same thing: operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The most commonly used terms are DUI, an acronym for Driving Under the Influence, and DWI, an acronym for Driving While Impaired.
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