Reapeat offenders of any crime face harsher consequences as they continue to break the law. Oklahoma defense attorneys see many cases where the punishment is based on the defendant's history and seems to be too severe for the alleged crime.
The case of a man being held on $1 million bond for traffic violations perfectly illustrates the point. Pacer Wynn Gooding, 42, was arrested last week and charged with his second Oklahoma DUI with a blood alcohol concentration of .08, the state's legal limit.
Oklahoma's DUI Laws
Under Oklahoma law, a second DUI within ten years of the first conviction is charged as a felony. If convicted, the driver faces a jail sentence of one to five years. Gooding was found with marijuana at the time of his arrest and was also charged with possession of a controlled substance and driving while suspended. (read more here)
While charges against Gooding are serious, having bail set at $1 million seems unwarranted at first glance. However, Gooding's history of traffic offenses is so extensive that prosecutors deemed him "a threat to society." Gooding's most recent arrest was not only his second DUI arrest, but also his fifth incident of possession of marijuana and his eighteenth charge of driving while suspended.
An Oklahoma judge agreed that being a serial traffic offender made Gooding a menace to the general public and set the million dollar bond. Gooding's Oklahoma DUI lawyer was not available for comment.
Pacer Wynn Gooding's prodigious police record dates back nearly 25 years and, in addition to the charges listed above, includes charges of transporting an open container, second-degree burglary, malicious injury of property, grand larceny, concealing stolen property, leaving the scene of an accident, four counts of second-degree forgery and numerous traffic offenses. A bond of $1 million for traffic offenses shows that a judge is unlikely to show leniency in sentencing if Gooding is convicted. His Oklahoma DUI defense attorney will have to work diligently to overcome judicial prejudices and ensure his constitutional rights are upheld.