Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Man gets five years prison for 10th OWI

by Rob Ireland

July 25, 2013

ELKHORN — A 49-year-old man will spend five years in prison after he was arrested in Darien for his 10th drunken driving offense.

Leonard LaPuma of Chicago, was arrested March 23 shortly after he was released from prison for his ninth-drunken driving offense.

According to records on the Department of Corrections website, LaPuma was incarcerated until Jan. 10.

As part of his sentence for the 10th offense, LaPuma will also serve five years of extended supervision, complete 70 hours of community service and pay a $1,200 fine. His latest prison sentence won't begin until he completes his revocation on the ninth-offense.

On Feb. 5, 2009, for his ninth offense, LaPuma was given a 10-year sentence, five years of initial incarceration and five years of extended supervision. He also was fined $6,300. A condition of his extended release was that he not consume alcohol.

LaPuma was arrested on March 23 at 3:14 a.m., and the officer reported that LaPuma smelled of alcohol, his speech was slurred and his balance was poor, according to the criminal complaint.

A portable Breathalyzer test came back with a blood-alcohol level of 0.12. The legal limit for a first-offense drunken driver is 0.08, and it is 0.02 for repeat offenders.

LaPuma has nine previous convictions, which include offenses that occurred on Feb. 11, 1991; June 27, 1991; Feb. 14, 1993; Nov. 13, 1994; March 24, 1998; July 26, 1998; Nov. 3, 2001; Sept. 3, 2006; and Nov. 26, 2008.

When Judge James Carlson sentenced LaPuma on his ninth-drunken driving offense he ruled that LaPuma wouldn't be eligible for the earned release program until he completed 3 1/2 years of his sentence.

In a letter written from prison, LaPuma asked Carlson to modify his sentence and find him eligible for the earned release program before he serves 3 1/2 years.

"I'm asking for the opportunity to participate in the ERP program with the hopes to learn new life skills that will help me not repeat my past mistakes," LaPuma wrote to Carlson. The Earned Release Program is a substance-abuse program. Carlson denied the motion.

Eventually, LaPuma enrolled in the program and successfully completed it. The DOC's website states the program "provides statutorily eligible inmates an incentive to actively participate in an intensive alcohol and drug treatment program designed to reduce the incidence of future criminal behaviors."

In 2008, LaPuma was arrested after he rear-ended a vehicle on State Highway 50. The other vehicle was reportedly stopped in front of Mulligans Sports Pub & Grill and was waiting to turn into the parking lot.

LaPuma rear ended the vehicle and then fled the scene. He told a town of Delavan police officer that he left because his license was revoked and he didn't think the accident was "that bad."

An attempt to locate was placed on the vehicle and LaPuma was stopped by the Williams Bay Police Department. Before stopping the vehicle, the officer saw the driver slam on the vehicle's brakes to avoid an accident. When the officer made contact with LaPuma, he could smell alcohol on him. During field sobriety tests, LaPuma struggled to keep his balance.