LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - A Central Arkansas woman is behind bars tonight charged with her fifth DWI in less than three years.
But a new law may mean, if found guilty, the woman could be facing much tougher sentencing than before.
Sharon Shinn was convicted of three DUIs in 2015. Two weeks ago she was charged with DUI in Cabot. She's now facing charges for a fifth DUI after she allegedly hit a pedestrian with her car while under the influence.
Based on her court records, Shinn has never faced substantial time in jail.
If you are asking “how could this happen,” you're not alone. Which is why, legislators say, they changed the law.
According to police reports, around 7:15 Monday, an officer was called to Papito's Mexican Grill in reference to a hit and run with injuries. There, police found the victim lying face-down with a driver's side vehicle mirror nearby.
According to a witness Sharon Shinn "ran over him like a speed bump." Shinn's husband told police she was "very drunk" at the time.
The home address Shinn gave police was for an Econolodge just down the road from the Pepitos Mexican Grill, where an eye-witness says Shinn struck Anderson in the parking lot then took off down 67/167 South.
Shinn circled back, past the scene, and police stopped her.
According to the report, Shinn's husband told them a cup in the car contained vodka, and he said his wife had not installed the interlock device following her DWI the week before.
The victim hired Denise Hoggard, a personal injury attorney.
"He has a great deal of pain, and he has potentially internal injuries,” she said. "The driver not only hit him, but then she left the scene. There are civil penalties for having fled the scene of an accident. It is a felony to do that. It is also a crime to be driving under the influence and seriously injure someone."
Shinn is facing multiple criminal convictions, and they could be much tougher than her 2015 DUIs.
It was just last April the Arkansas Legislature signed Act 1032 into law, which mandates jail time after a fourth DUI arrest.
"I think there is the ability for someone to make a mistake twice, even three times, and be able to help themselves and get the treatment they need, but after that, I'm sorry, you've kind of exhausted your chances,” said Senator Trent Garner, one of the law's sponsors.
According to Act 1032, if convicted, Shinn is facing one year - but no more than six years - in prison.
She is in the Pulaski County Jail, awaiting a March 6 Jacksonville court date.
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