Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County. No. 11-CF-2464. Honorable Brian P. Hughes, Judge, Presiding.
PRESIDING JUSTICE BURKE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Zenoff and Spence concurred in the judgment and opinion.
BURKE, PRESIDING JUSTICE
[¶1] Defendant, Timothy J. Morrow, appeals his sentence of 13 years' incarceration for aggravated driving under the influence (DUI) (625 ILCS 5/11-501(d)(2)(E) (West 2010)), a Class X felony based on at least five prior DUI convictions. He contends that the trial court wrongly applied his previous convictions in aggravation during sentencing when they had already elevated the offense to a Class X felony. We determine that the trial court did not apply the previous convictions in aggravation and instead properly discussed them in relation to the nature and circumstances of the offense, defendant's likelihood to reoffend, protection of the public, and deterrence. Accordingly, we affirm.
[¶2] I. BACKGROUND
[¶3] Defendant was arrested on July 30, 2011. On October 22, 2012, a jury trial was held. Officer Ryan Rodriguez testified that he observed defendant's vehicle swerve within its lane. When Rodriguez activated his lights, defendant continued to drive and did not pull over until Rodriguez activated his siren. An object was thrown from the passenger-side window, and a partially full can of beer was recovered from the roadside. Defendant exhibited multiple signs of intoxication and failed multiple field sobriety tests. He refused a Breathalyzer test. The jury found defendant guilty.
[¶4] At sentencing, the State presented evidence that defendant had seven previous DUI convictions between 1987 and 1995. He had 10 total DUI arrests. Two of those charges, in 2005 and 2006, were reduced to reckless driving. He had been sentenced to prison twice before for aggravated DUI and driving while his license was revoked. Defendant also had an alcohol-related conviction of violation of an order of protection in 2003 and an arrest for criminal damage to state-supported property in 2009. In the 2009 incident, defendant was belligerent, disruptive, and profane during an arrest for disorderly conduct. He then threw a boot inside the police station, breaking a ceiling tile. He pleaded guilty to an amended charge of disorderly conduct and was sentenced to conditional discharge. In 2011, 10 days before he was arrested on the current charge, his conditional discharge was revoked and he was sentenced to probation. A petition to revoke probation was pending in that case at the time of sentencing in this case. Defendant was also arrested in 2010 for an alcohol-related offense, and that case was also pending at the time of sentencing. Aside from alcohol-related offenses, defendant had a lengthy history of other offenses.
[¶5] Referring to the number of DUI arrests, the State argued that defendant was a danger to the public, referring to him as " the grim reaper to every driver on the road." The State noted that, beginning as a juvenile, defendant had spent nearly every year of his life being arrested for offenses related directly or indirectly to alcohol. Pointing to defendant's overall criminal history, the State argued that defendant was a habitual offender who had squandered chances to change. The State argued that there was a need for deterrence against repeat offenders. Thus, it asked for 15 years' incarceration.
[¶6] The defense noted defendant's good behavior while out on bond. Defendant apologized and stated that he took responsibility for his actions, but he said that he had simply made mistakes. He also said that he was abused by his stepfather when he was young. He said that he wanted to see his 12-year-old son grow up, that he had paid his debt on his past DUI convictions, and that he had worked for years to get his license back after them. At one point defendant said, " I'm such a drunk."
[¶7] The trial court noted defendant's candor and that his abuse could have led him to self-medicate with alcohol. However, the court also stated that " there are a number of people in this society that are abused as children and they don't go out to repeatedly violate the driving under the influence of alcohol laws of this state or any state on a repeated basis." The court, specifically referring to defendant's statement that he made mistakes, agreed that everyone makes mistakes but said that he had " made mistake after mistake after mistake the last 25 years." The court then noted defendant's lengthy criminal history from when he was a teenager until he was arrested on the current offense just 10 days after being resentenced on another one.
[¶8] Noting defendant's statement that he was " such a drunk," the court characterized defendant as perhaps a " 'functional alcoholic'" who could maintain employment and a home yet still commit the same mistakes every year. Noting that it was " assessing risk," the court further noted that defendant had participated in DUI treatment multiple times, but that it had no impact on him. Referring again to defendant's statement that he made mistakes, the court said that the vast majority of offenders " are so impacted by that one arrest, either the public shame or self-reflection how they got there, they never, ever put themselves in that position again. But yet you find yourself here for the eighth violation, the eighth time." Reciting defendant's previous DUI convictions, along with his other convictions, the court stated that all the trips to prison did not slow defendant down. Indicating a concern for public safety and citing the need for deterrence, the court sentenced defendant to 13 years' incarceration. Defendant appeals.
[¶9] II. ANALYSIS
[¶10] Defendant contends that the court wrongly applied his previous DUI convictions in aggravation during sentencing when they had already elevated the offense to a Class X felony. Thus, defendant argues that his sentence was improperly enhanced twice by the same prior convictions. The State contends that the court properly discussed the previous convictions as part of its consideration of the ...