Chronic DUI offender gets hard time after ninth conviction

A Petaluma man with nine DUI convictions was sentenced to four years in state prison Monday in Sonoma County Superior Court. Charles Livingstone Cole, 55, was sentenced to the maximum term for his third DUI in 10 years and ninth DUI conviction since 1980, Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch said.

A California Highway Patrol officer saw Cole standing next to his disabled vehicle that was blocking the southbound lane of state Highway 121 north of Napa Road in Sonoma County on April 12, Ravitch said.

The CHP officer noticed Cole appeared intoxicated and a breath test later determined his blood-alcohol level was 0.19 percent, Ravitch said.

Cole pleaded no contest on June 11 to DUI with a blood-alcohol level greater than 0.08 percent. He admitted driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than 0.15 percent and serving a prior prison sentence for DUI, Ravitch said.

Cole’s driving privileges will be suspended for 10 years after he is released from prison, Ravitch said. Ravitch said the sentence and driving prohibition after release will “help ensure the public is safe from this drunken driver” for the foreseeable future. Deputy District Attorney Christopher Brown prosecuted the case.