A long history of alcohol abuse landed a Payson woman in jail last week after pleading guilty to aggravated drunk driving.
A judge sentenced Irene M. Jackson, 49, to serve eight months in prison, three years of probation and pay more than $5,400 in fines after driving with a blood alcohol level more than three times the legal limit.
On Oct. 1, 2010, a Gila County sheriff’s deputy pulled Jackson over on a routine traffic stop.
A police report said that Jackson’s eyes were red and bloodshot, her speech was slurred and she smelled strongly of alcohol.
At the sheriff’s office, a breath-alcohol test revealed Jackson had a blood alcohol level of .228, nearly three times the legal limit of .08.
Jackson admitted in a pre-sentencing report that she drank excessively to cope with difficulties in her personal life.
This is the second time Jackson stood before an Arizona court for drunk driving.
In January 2002, Jackson was arrested on charges of extreme DUI, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of DUI. Jackson served 10 days in jail for the offense.
Superior Court Judge Peter Cahill noted that this sentence did nothing to prevent Jackson from driving drunk again.
A probation officer made a similar determination.
“It is quite apparent the defendant has failed to benefit from the past lenient treatment by the court and society is at risk for her continued behavior of getting behind the wheel while impaired,” wrote Kathy Joerns, deputy probation officer in a pre-sentencing report.
Standing before the court, Jackson made no comment. Her attorney, Ronald DeBrigida, said Jackson understands the magnitude of her drinking problem and wants to get help.
Jackson has the support of her family, including her children and fiancé who attended the sentencing, DeBrigida said.
DeBrigida asked Cahill to consider the minimum sentence of four months in prison.
Noting her past convictions and the seriousness of this crime, Cahill sentenced Jackson to three years of probation and eight months and eight days in jail with credit given for eight days already served.
Jackson will also have to complete an alcohol education program, have an ignition interlock device installed and her driving privileges are revoked for three years. After the sentencing, Jackson appeared shocked.