'Nothing to lose' repeat drunk driver back in Pierce County court

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by DREW MIKKELSEN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @Drewmikk

KING5.com

Posted on May 2, 2013 at 7:37 PM

Updated Thursday, May 2 at 7:37 PM

TACOMA, Wash. -- A day after being charged with a felony DUI, James Door was back in court Thursday.

He had to appear, via a video feed from the Pierce County Jail, before a district court judge for failing to appear on a warrant and driving without a required interlock device.

Door is being held on $230,000 bail for the felony charge.

Puyallup police arrested Door early Tuesday morning on suspicion of driving under the influence.

The officer said Door told him he had “nothing to lose” by driving drunk.

Door has four prior DUI convictions and got out of prison in 2011 after serving a 29-month sentence for attempting to elude a police officer after Door caused a DUI crash.

“Defendants like this are frustrating. Defendants like this are why we need stiffer penalties for repeat drunk drivers,” said Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist.

Lindquist is in favor of making a driver’s third DUI conviction a felony. Currently drivers only face the more-serious felony charges after a fifth arrest.

A felony DUI charge can result in a five-year sentence. Misdemeanor DUI charges have a maximum of a one-year prison sentence.

Lawmakers are expected to debate making a driver’s fourth DUI a felony in the upcoming special session later this month. A DUI reform bill would also expand the number of drivers who have interlock devices installed in their cars to ensure they are sober.

“Interlock devices are a good idea, but they’re not a foolproof idea,” said Lindquist. “They rely on the honor system.”

Lindquist said longer sentences for repeat offenders are the best way to keep the state’s roads safe from drivers like James Door.

“Those will be five years. When he’s in prison, he’s not driving drunk,” said Lindquist.
 

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