PLATTSMOUTH – A Weeping Water woman learned Monday morning that she would spend time in Cass County Jail for committing her fifth lifetime drunk-driving offense.
Monica L. Stander, 46, appeared in Cass County District Court for sentencing on a Class W misdemeanor. She pled guilty in early April to a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol-third offense.
Prosecutors reduced their original Class IIIA felony charge of DUI-.15+-third offense as part of a plea agreement. They also dismissed an infraction charge of possess/consume open alcohol container.
A Cass County Sheriff’s Office deputy approached Stander’s car at the intersection of 132nd Street and Hobscheidt Road north of Weeping Water in October 2018. The deputy saw her car parked on the side of the road just after 11 p.m. and stopped to see if she needed assistance.
The deputy began speaking with Stander and noticed she had slurred speech and bloodshot eyes. She failed several field sobriety tests and admitted consuming several alcoholic beverages before driving.
She was arrested after a preliminary breath test revealed a blood-alcohol content level of .185. A chemical breath test conducted at Cass County Jail later that evening showed a BAC of .177.
Cass County Deputy Attorney Steven Sunde told the court Stander had committed five drunk-driving offenses dating back to 1993. Prosecutors can only use DUI offenses committed in the past 15 years in their most recent cases. They charged Stander with a third DUI due to convictions in 2006 and 2011 in Sarpy County.
Sunde said Stander had been charged with minor in possession in both 1991 and 1992 and was convicted of furnishing alcohol to a minor in 1992. She was charged with driving with an open beer in her car in 2016.
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Sunde asked the court to issue jail time. He felt that was the only appropriate sentence due to the large number of alcohol-related events in her criminal history.
“She needs to quit drinking and driving,” Sunde said. “This is her fifth time. She is a five-time offender who has not changed her ways.”
Defense attorney James Owen asked the court to sentence Stander to probation. He said his client had a much better support system now than in previous years and had been working 60-hour weeks at a Syracuse business. She had also been attending AA meetings and had obtained a substance abuse evaluation.
“We’re asking for probation because we feel that will provide a long-term solution,” Owen said.
Judge Michael Smith agreed with Sunde and said a jail term was necessary. He came to his conclusion because of the previous DUI convictions and several alcohol-related assault charges against Stander.
“I can’t overlook your record,” Smith said. “It is too long and too extensive.”
Smith ordered Stander to serve a term of 300 days in Cass County Jail. She would serve a total of 157 days if she receives good-time credit while in jail.
Stander must pay a mandatory $1,000 fine and will have her driver’s license suspended for 15 years. She will be eligible to obtain an ignition interlock device after 45 days without driving.