Hawaii man gets 5 years for being habitual DUI offender
By Jim Dooley
Advertiser Staff Writer
A man with 12 previous drunk driving-related convictions was sentenced this morning to five years in prison for his latest DUI offense.
Patrick Jeffrey Rowland, 58, apologized to the court and the public for his past behavior and asked for a sentence of probation.
But Deputy Prosecutor Paul Mow said, “For the past 30 years, this man has been on the road, drinking and driving, placing the public at risk.”
Rowland pleaded guilty last year to being a habitual DUI offender, the second time he has been convicted of that offense.
The law defines a habitual offender as someone who had been convicted of three DUI’s within the past 10 years.
Rowland has also been convicted of 16 charges of driving without a license and driving while his license was suspended or revoked.
“We clearly have a person who does not belong on the road,” Mow told Circuit Judge Michael Wilson.
Rowland has even managed to have his Hawaii driver’s license revoked for life twice.
Mow called that a peculiarity of the law, which he said should be toughened by the Legislature to provide gradually tougher penalties for each instance of drunk driving.
Rowland’s latest offense occurred the evening of June 2, 2008, along Kamehameha Highway near Kualoa Beach Park on Windward Oahu.
The truck he was driving smashed into another truck parked off the highway, then careened into a nearby rock wall.
Two hours after the collision, Rowland’s blood alcohol content was measured by police at .071, slightly below the legal limit of .08.
If the case had gone to trial, Mow said, the prosecution was prepared to present expert testimony that Rowland’s alcohol level at the time of the accident could have as high was twice the legal limit.
No one was injured in the collision, but Mow said the occupant of the truck that was struck, or a man standing by the side of the truck, could easily have been killed.
“Somebody could have died,” the prosecutor said. “It is an extremely serious offense.”