Friday, May 4, 2012

Felony DUI leads to jail sentence

Judge allows 23-year-old to serve time later


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Michael B. Braun

A 23-year-old Shoshone man was sentenced April 23 to 30 days in jail for felony DUI. However, since Michael B. Braun has taken steps to stop drinking, Judge Robert J. Elgee ruled that he can serve his time later this summer so it won't interfere with his busy spring construction work schedule.

Elgee gave Braun credit for five days already spent behind bars. The judge further ordered that Braun continue with alcohol counseling, serve three years probation, pay a $2,500 fine and lose his driver's license for one year.

Elgee also gave Braun a withheld judgment, a provision that allows the conviction to be removed from his criminal record if he successfully completes probation.

Braun pleaded guilty to felony DUI in February.

He was charged with a felony following his arrest by Hailey police on Woodside Boulevard on the evening of June 25 because of two prior recent misdemeanor DUI convictions. According to Idaho court records, Braun was convicted of misdemeanor DUI in Blaine County in 2011 and in Twin Falls County in 2006.

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Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney Matt Fredback said at the hearing that Braun had developed a habit of drinking after work with his friends and then driving home drunk.

"He's 23 years old and this is his third DUI," Fredback said. "He needs to stop drinking and maybe get new friends and change his life."

Braun told the court that he has been attending alcohol counseling because "I do understand that I have been going down the wrong path."

Elgee agreed to Braun's request that he not be required to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings after Braun complained that AA doesn't seem to work for him.

"They're not happy people," Braun said. "They depress everyone around them."

"It's OK if you don't like AA," Elgee said. "It's not for everybody. They've got some sad tales, but a lot of them have conquered what you have."

Elgee nonetheless told Braun that he would be required to attend AA meetings if told to do so by his probation officer.

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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