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What you need to know for 01/17/2018

Repeat Schenectady drunken driver gets up to 3 years in prison

Repeat Schenectady drunken driver gets up to 3 years in prison

A city man arrested on a new drunken-driving charge in September, just five days before he was to be

A city man arrested on a new drunken-driving charge in September, just five days before he was to be sentenced in a previous incident, will be going to prison for as much as three years, instead of spending a few months in the county jail.

Francisco Rosello, 47, formerly of Van Vranken Avenue, appeared in Schenectady County Court on Wednesday morning to accept a new plea offer in his case and be sentenced.

The previous deal called for him to get as much as six months in jail for driving drunk in Schenectady in November 2012 and for a violation of probation in a previous drunken-driving case. Having entered that plea, he was allowed to remain free on bail pending sentencing Sept. 13.

Then, on Sept. 8, he was arrested again, accused of wrecking a motorcycle near Union College while drunk. With the new arrest, Schenectady County Court Judge Karen Drago threw out the original plea deal, pressing for more time behind bars.

In court Wednesday, Rosello accepted the new plea deal and became emotional.

“I have looked for ways to help myself,” Rosello told the court through an interpreter. “I have not been able to help myself.”

The new deal calls for a total sentence of one to three years in prison and resolves the previous charges. The newest charge was resolved with the deal, though he didn’t actually plead guilty to it.

Rosello’s attorney, Paul Callahan, said later that had the cases gone forward he would have raised issues with both the November 2012 and September 2013 cases. In the November 2012 case, Callahan said there were issues with the traffic stop that led to the arrest. In the September 2013 case, he said his client wasn’t seen operating the motorcycle, he was only found passed out in the road near it.

But the potential sentences for a guilty verdict were enough to lead Rosello to give up and go ahead with Wednesday’s sentencing, Callahan said.

State Department of Motor Vehicles records show he had a driving while ability impaired conviction in 2006 and driving while intoxicated convictions in 2007 and 2009.

His license was already revoked when he was arrested in November 2012. If he ever applies for a license again, he will be subject to a lifetime review, officials said. If he gets a fifth alcohol-related driving conviction, he would be subject to a lifetime driving ban. Since he didn’t actually plead guilty to the September 2013 DWI, he still has only four alcohol-related convictions.

Prosecutor Stephanie Hughes said afterward a prison sentence was warranted in Rosello’s case. She said that in his previous court appearances, it appeared as though he realized his mistakes and was trying to address his problems. But he has shown he can’t control those issues, she said.

“Right now, unfortunately, he’s a risk and a danger to the public and himself, and state prison is kind of the only option left at this point,” she said.

In sentencing Rosello, Drago ordered alcohol treatment screening when he enters prison. She also noted that in a pre-sentence report, Rosello indicated he had a sponsor related to an alcohol support group.

She told him he must follow through with counseling and support groups when he gets out of prison.

“You just can’t do it once every three to four weeks,” Drago said. “If you’re that seriously addicted, you have to go as often as you can.”

The sentencing went forward despite a request from Rosello to delay it until after the holidays and allow him bail. Drago denied that, noting what happened the last time he was on bail.

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