Police: Man arrested on 15th DWI charge

File image of police cars.
Caption
File image of police cars.

Credit: Pixabay

Credit: Pixabay

A man in New Mexico who state police claim has 14 DWI convictions was arrested just before Christmas on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

Levi Manuelito, 57, was arrested on Dec. 22 after police responded to reports of a car driving erratically on a highway near Shiprock, KRQE reported. Police found the vehicle at a gas station. Manuelito, who police said had his pants unbuckled and unzipped, exited and slipped into another car, the Albuquerque Journal reported. The car's passengers said Manuelito was the driver, according to the police report.

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Manuelito refused to perform sobriety tests or a Breathalyzer test,  police said, so a blood draw was taken after police obtained a court order, the Journal reported. He will remain in jail until his trial, police said.

A stricter state law passed in 2016 may mean a longer sentence for Manuelito, if he's convicted on the new DWI charge. Before then, the maximum prison sentence for DWI was three years. Now, for repeat DWI offenders with 8 or more convictions, there's a minimum 12-year sentence, 10 years of which must be served, the Journal reported.

Manuelito has been in prison, on parole, on probation or absconding since 2000, according to State Department of Corrections records reviewed by the Journal.

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