Two Pershing County men are headed to state prison for DUI offenses.

Last month, at his arraignment, William Lane Roberts pleaded guilty to his third DUI within seven years. 

Steve Cochran asked the judge to delay sentencing until Monday, Feb. 3, so Roberts could complete the Phoenix Program for alcohol addiction. Roberts graduated from the rehabilitation program. 

On Monday (Feb. 3), the defendant came to court from the Northern Nevada Correctional Center. He’s doing time on a DUI conviction from another jurisdiction.

The defense attorney entered several letters from the community into evidence.

“You’ve got numerous letters vouching for Mr. Robert’s character while acknowledging his limitations in terms of the alcohol issue,” said Cochran. 

The defense attorney left the sentence to the court’s discretion but asked the judge to weigh the mitigating factors.

DDA Banks countered that Roberts was on a DUI diversion program at the time of his arrest. Further, Roberts borrowed a family member’s car because his own had a court-mandated Interlock device.

The DDA argued for 19-48 months in prison, to be served consecutively to the current term.

“I’m sorry it has taken me so long to get a grip on my alcoholism,” Roberts said in his allocution. “I got off too easy the first two times.”

The defendant said he stopped to buy whiskey and beer on his way home from work.

“I drank, drove and drank while driving,” he said. 

The judge acknowledged Roberts’ efforts to improve himself. He found the character references impactful. Even prison staff contributed letters. 

“They say good things about you as a person,” said the judge.

However, the defendant was speeding, ran a stop sign and drove recklessly with blood alcohol (0.234) about three times the legal limit.

“If someone had been hurt besides you, we’d be having a different discussion today,” he said. “When I read the synopsis of the offense it doesn’t appear you were far away from involving somebody else.”

“You were given the opportunity to participate in that DUI diversion program in the hopes you could turn your life around,” he concluded.

The judge gave Roberts 24 – 60 months, concurrent with the NNCC sentence. In addition to court fees, Roberts must pay a $2,000 fine.

David Brian Kemnitz, Sr. came to court from the Pershing County jail. Earlier, at his arraignment, Kemnitz pleaded guilty to failure to stop upon the signal of a peace officer.  

As part of the plea agreement, the DA’s office agreed not to charge the defendant as a habitual offender.

Under Nevada’s three strikes law, defendants with two or more prior felony convictions face added prison time. With five convictions under his belt, Kemnitz potentially could have spent the rest of his life behind bars.

Cochran acknowledged his client’s lengthy criminal history.  However, he argued that Kemnitz had done well on probation and parole in the past.

He asked the judge to consider probation.

DDA Banks countered that Kemnitz drank alcohol and got on a motorcycle. After crashing into a tribal law officer’s fender, he fled the scene. At the time of the crime, Kemnitz had been out of prison for about one year.

Next, it was the defendant’s turn to speak.

“I was doing great and working hard every day,” said Kemnitz. “I was paying my child support. I don’t remember even having an urge or a craving. I’ve been banging my head on the wall of my cell every day ever since. I don’t want to go back to prison. I’d love to have drug court. I need the accountability.”

Kemnitz told the court that he got married on Jan. 22, while incarcerated. His wife watched the hearing from  the back of the courtroom. 

“I understand you want probation, but given the history, I’m going to send you to prison,” said the judge. He gave the defendant 12 to 48 months, consecutive.