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Man with nine DUI convictions gets lengthy prison term

Published April 02. 2014 07:41AM

A Lehigh County man, with nine driving under the influence convictions, was sentenced to a lengthy county prison term Tuesday in Carbon County court. He was one of two men who previously pleaded to DUI charges to be sentenced by Judge Joseph J. Matika.

Nesquehoning incident

James Rowlands, 50, of Allentown, was sentenced to serve 14 months to five years in prison on the DUI charge. He was also sentenced to serve 90 days in prison on a driving under suspension-DUI related count, consecutive to the DUI charge.

Rowland was arrested on May 11, 2013, by Nesquehoning police along Catawissa St. He refused a blood test.

Matika noted that the conviction was Rowlands' ninth for DUI with the first dating back to 1991.

Rowlands is currently serving a one to five year prison term in Lehigh County for a DUI charge. Matika ruled the new sentence would run concurrent with the Lehigh County one, with Rowlands' minimum term running to July 2015.

Rowlands told the court, "I take full responsibility for what I did. I have no one to blame but myself."

Rowlands said he had taken advantage of a program for alcohol abuse provided in the Lehigh County prison. He said he has served 219 days of his Lehigh sentence. When he completes it he will be transferred to the Carbon prison to complete his new sentence.

Matika told Rowlands, "You're not learning from your time in prison. You're not addressing your issues."

Matika noted that while Rowlands is on supervision there is no problems. Once the supervision ends, it appears Rowlands begins drinking and driving again, Matika said. Matika added that it has been fortunate that with all his prior DUI convictions, none have involved crashes or anyone being injured.

In addition to the jail term Matika ordered Rowlands to get a drug and alcohol evaluation and follow any recommendation for treatment, zero tolerance imposed on D&A use, pay a total of $3,000 in fines for the DUI and suspension counts, license suspended for 18 months on the DUI charge and another year added on for the refusal and still another year for the suspension charge. He must also render 100 hours of community service when released on parole.

He was granted work release privileges which he currently has in Lehigh County.

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