Protecting You From Alleged DWI Repeat Offenders - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/23/07-Smith County

Protecting You From Alleged DWI Repeat Offenders

When Melinda Jackson was arrested last month for DWi after allegedly hitting a teenage boy, then released from jail the same day, it enraged the community.

"She has no business being out of jail. She has no business being behind the wheel of a car," says Judy Uithoven who heard about the incident on our newscast.

Tonight, she's back in jail on more DWI charges, but this time, it may be harder for her to get out.

Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham says, "We asked that for every offense for which a bond was granted, that the bond be set in that case at 100k dollars."

If you add up the laundry list of charges stacking up against her, it could mean a million dollars or more for Jackson. It's just one of the avenues prosecutors can take to try and protect the public against repeat DWI offenders, and there are plenty of them.

Just today on the Smith County docket, four people with 3 or more DWI charges were set to be in court.

Chester Morris is on trial for intoxication manslaughter. He has two other DWI convictions on his criminal background.

Bingham says his office repeatedly asks judges to set bond conditions for repeat offenders.

"You can have breathalizers installed on the vehicles, so if it's a driving case, they may have to blow into the intoxometer before the car will start;  electronic monitoring on the ankle," says Bingham.

Bingham adds there is no bond condition that will absolutely block someone from breaking the law again.

Jaime Patrescio, the man involved in a weekend wreck which killed a five year old boy, is being charged with intoxication manslaughter.  It is his first offense.

Lindsay Wilcox, Reporting: lwilcox@kltv.com

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