ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. -- An Aurora man who pleaded guilty to driving under the influence received only probation despite five previous convictions of DUI, the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office said Tuesday.
Doyle Carmack, 54, was seen driving erratically in a GMC Sierra pickup truck about 2:20 a.m. on March 16. He was arrested by Aurora police on suspicion of drunken driving after failing roadside sobriety tests.
His blood-alcohol content was 0.235, nearly three times the limit of 0.08 that a driver is considered drunk and nearly five times above the limit of 0.05 that a driver is considered to be impaired.
Carmack pleaded guilty to felony driving under the influence. The district attorney's office sought a four-year prison sentence because Carmack had five previous DUI convictions in Missouri.
He served three years in prison for a 1999 felony DUI. He also was convicted of felony DUI in 1997, and misdemeanor DUI in 1996, 1991 and 1987.
But on July 29, Arapahoe County Judge Natalie Turnmire Chase sentenced Carmack to five years probation and 75 hours of community service.
Carmack posted bond immediately after being arrested and did not serve any time in jail for the latest DUI.
“Over the past few years, it has become the trend in the legislature to strip away mandatory minimum sentences from our most serious charges. This is the result," District Attorney George Brauchler said in a statement.
Deb Grenske is one of several Coloradans disturbed by the lenient sentence. She has been fighting for years to strengthen the state's DUI laws after a repeat drunk driver ran a stop sign and hit her son four years ago. He survived but suffered serious injuries.
"I'm scared and here's why," Grenske said. "In all the research we did so we could testify, we found out for every time a drunk driver is caught, he's driven 80 times and not gotten caught."
Last year, Colorado joined 45 other states in creating a felony DUI law. But what Colorado's law didn't do was mandate jail time for most repeat offenders.
"It's watered down and we knew that. It was the only thing we could get passed," Grenske said.
The Grenskes said that's a slap in the face to her family and the many others who have lost loved to repeat drunk drivers.
"In our cul-de-sac of six houses we have 11 children here, and I hope none of them get the call we got when our son was hit," Gary Grenske said.
Added Brauchler: "While Colorado’s 1-year-old felony DUI law was a step in the right direction, it lacks the promise of prison needed to protect our community from those who drive dangerously drunk on our roads over and over and over again.”