Man indicted on felony DUI after multiple DUI arrests

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DESOTO CO., Miss-- The DeSoto County Grand Jury handed down an indictment to 45-year-old William Pittman in July.

The indictment saying he is now charged with DUI-4th offense, a felony.

In DeSoto County, investigators from the Southaven Police Department tell us he has been arrested seven times since 2005 for DUI, most recently in January, February and March of 2018.

"One is too many," said DeSoto County District Attorney John Champion.

Several years ago Champion was part of discussions with lawmakers and law enforcement about retaining information about those who have been convicted for DUI throughout the state.

"We had discussions among the prosecutors about what better ways to streamline information gathering so that a lot of these don't fall through the cracks," he said.

These discussions were spurred by Melandus Penson, a multiple DUI offender. He pleaded guilty in the DUI accident that killed 17-year-olds Mattie Kruse and Rachel Lynch, two Briarcrest students.

The horrific crash forced lawmakers to strengthen DUI laws.

Instead of allowing multiple offenses to rack up before there is any real jail time, now the 2nd, 3rd and 4th offenses can lead to anywhere from 6 months to 10 years behind bars.

The laws also called for agencies across the state to communicate better so they would know about someone's previous convictions.

The Department of Public Safety put in charge of maintaining a database, Champion says DPS has done a good job trying to streamline, making all information available.

"But obviously its not 100% right now and things fall through the cracks as far as somebody gets a DUI in another county or another city that is a long way from here hopefully it's going to be into the computer database system," he said.

He also says the system is dependent on the agency or the court that convicted the individual.

What Champion says he would love to see is instantaneous data entry on the arrest and instantaneous data entry upon conviction.

So that law enforcement can have information readily available wherever they are in the state.

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