Appeals court says differing DUI penalties OK

PHOENIX - An appeals court says a driver who gets six months in jail for misdemeanor extreme drunken driving with a previous DUI conviction is being punished less than a driver who gets four months behind bars for a third extreme DUI.

The court says the difference is the third conviction for extreme DUI is a felony, a charge that affects voting and gun ownership rights and doesn't go away like a misdemeanor does.

Thursday's Arizona Court of Appeals ruling upholding Phoenix resident John Monfeli's sentence rejects arguments that his 180-day sentence was unconstitutional.

The 52-year-old argued the longer sentence violated his due process and equal protection rights.

But the court said the felony was a more severe punishment even with a shorter time behind bars and upheld the sentence.

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