Archived Story

Bettcher should stay in jail

Published 9:57am Monday, October 29, 2012 Updated 11:59am Monday, October 29, 2012

When the word came out that Daniel Bettcher, a long-time Otter Tail County resident, got out of jail Friday despite the fact that he had 27 DWIs on his record, it is natural to wonder why our legal system could not keep him there longer.

In our view, the Legislature needs to make sure of it.

While the Legislature has increased the penalties for multiple DWI offenders in recent years, there’s still a limit. DWI carries a maximum sentence of up to seven years in prison. With two-thirds time for good behavior, it means even if Bettcher gets the maximum sentence for his next DWI, he may only would have to serve less than five years in prison.

The odds are very, very good that Bettcher will drink and drive again. It is simply unacceptable that Bettcher and others in his category be allowed to drink and drive again. If preventing Bettcher from driving means keeping him in prison until he dies, so be it.

By creating a maximum sentence of life in prison for multiple DWI offenders, the Legislature can give judges the power they need to keep Bettcher off the road, and keep the rest of us safe.

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