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For the week of May 1 - 7, 2002


Womanís fourth DUI brings jail sentence with work release

Express Staff Writer

A Bellevue woman convicted of her fourth DUI since 1994, three of them involving driving with a child, was sentenced Monday to a suspended prison sentence and six months in Blaine County Jail with work release.

Bonnie L. Lathrop, 43, was on probation for her third DUI, a felony, when she was arrested last November after a breath test showed she had been driving with a blood alcohol content of .20, according to 5th District Court documents. The legal limit is .08.

Under Idaho law, a third DUI arrest after two convictions in the preceding five years is charged as a felony. A fourth arrest after three convictions in the preceding 10 years is also a felony. Conviction of felony DUI carries a maximum prison sentence of five years.

Fifth District Judge James May had imposed a suspended prison sentence of three to five years upon Lathropís third conviction. A breath test had registered a blood alcohol content of .29 at the time of that arrest in December 1998.

On Monday, May sentenced Lathrop to another suspended term, of three to six years, and ordered her to spend six months in the Blaine County Jail with daytime release to go to work. Under his retained jurisdiction order, he will review the case at the end of that period.

Lathropís attorney, Fritz Haemmerle, had told the court that she had been making good progress with an Alcoholics Anonymous program. A character witness also said Lathrop had been doing well.

"I think her rehabilitation depends on her staying in this community and following this," Haemmerle said.

Lathrop said her fall off the wagon was precipitated by taking a prescription drug to combat anxiety. She said the drug has been known to cause people to return to substance abuse.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Marilyn Paul recommended a prison sentence of four to five years. She pointed out that Lathrop was on probation when arrested and had a pattern of driving drunk with children in the car.


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