Judge David Denkin fought hard to establish a Sarasota DUI Court in hopes of stopping people arrested on multiple DUI charges from drinking and driving again in the future. Wade Williams was hoping to take advantage of the program. The 31-year-old spent nine years in prison after a fatal DUI crash killed his best friend. Three years after he served his sentence he was arrested on another DUI charge while leaving his high school reunion.
He appeared before Judge Denkin Thursday looking to enter an intense year-long program that would keep him out of jail and hopefully put his life back on the right track. Although Denkin is the program’s biggest advocate and Williams seems like a fit for the year-long intensely supervised program, Denkin did not allow Williams in. Denkin said Williams would benefit from the program but that the man also needed to be punished if convicted and becomes a two-time DUI offender. According to Denkin the way the laws are written Williams could not be punished accordingly and enter the program.
The program that Denkin championed allows people convicted of a second, third or fourth DUI to serve the minimum jail sentence associated with that conviction if they complete the court monitored supervision program. That program requires a weekly appearance before a judge.
Prosecutors argued that Williams can enter the program once he has served his nine months in jail. The option was presented to Williams who said he wouldn’t be able to afford the program. Williams’ first DUI conviction was the result of a night of drinking. He and two friends drove drunk around Sarasota and Venice when the car they were in veered of the road. The DUI crash killed 16-year-old Mark Yates. Williams claimed he was not driving the car at the time of the fatal accident but evidence contradicted that story and he was convicted.