PLATTSMOUTH – A man who committed his third drunk-driving crime last winter will serve both jail and probation sentences in Cass County.
Richard C. Wedner, 31, appeared in Cass County District Court Monday morning for a sentencing hearing. Wedner accepted a plea bargain with prosecutors in June. He pled guilty to one Class W misdemeanor of driving under the influence of alcohol-third offense and one Class V misdemeanor of refuse to submit to preliminary breath test.
A Cass County Sheriff’s Office deputy stopped Wedner for speeding at 5:42 a.m. Dec. 10, 2017. The deputy pulled over Wedner near Club View Drive on Highway 75 and immediately noticed a strong odor of alcohol in the car. Wedner had watery and bloodshot eyes and appeared to be intoxicated. He showed multiple signs of impairment during field sobriety tests.
Wedner was arrested after he refused to provide a preliminary breath test at the scene. He later refused to take a chemical breath test at Cass County Jail.
Deputy County Attorney Steven Sunde told the court Wedner had been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol on two previous occasions. The first DUI conviction happened in Sarpy County in July 2008. The second conviction happened in Douglas County in April 2012.
Sunde said Wedner had also refused to submit to a breath test in the 2012 DUI incident. He said Wedner’s criminal history included charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, obstruction of a peace officer, leaving the scene of an accident, operating a motor vehicle without a license and disturbing the peace.
Sunde said he felt Wedner was not a good candidate for probation. He believed Wedner had not displayed a willingness to correct his actions and stop drinking and driving. He asked the court to issue a jail sentence ranging from 90-365 days.
“The repeat behavior of drunk driving and refusing to take tests shows he’s not learning his lesson,” Sunde said. “He’s continuing to put the public at risk.”
Defense attorney Julie Bear told the court Wedner had started to realize the toll alcohol had caused on his life. She said her client wanted to begin treatment and had recently taken a substance abuse evaluation. She asked the court to issue a probation sentence with a mandatory 30 days in jail.
Judge Michael Smith said he was concerned about the pattern of behavior from Wedner. He said he had deliberated for a long time about whether to issue a jail or probation sentence. He said he came to the conclusion that probation could be more beneficial to Wedner if he was truly interested in rehabilitation.
“I’ve been going back and forth on this,” Smith said. “The most I could give you in jail is 190 days with credit for good time, and you would already be serving 30 days in the case of probation. I don’t know what you would get out of those extra 160 days.”
Smith ordered Wedner to serve 24 months on probation with multiple requirements. Wedner must wear a continuous alcohol monitoring (CAM) device for the next two years and must enroll in an intensive outpatient treatment program. He will be required to attend a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) victim impact panel and must pay a mandatory $1,000 fine.
Wedner will have his driver’s license suspended for 15 years. He will be able to obtain an ignition interlock device for his vehicle after 45 days. Smith also ordered Wedner to serve ten weekends in jail beginning Aug. 10.
Smith warned Wedner he would issue additional jail time if the probation requirements were not met.
“I have some hesitation about doing this,” Smith said in a stern voice. “Make it work.”