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Utah County woman jailed for seventh DUI

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PROVO — A Utah County woman will spend time in jail for her conviction on a seventh DUI charge.

Her arrest history for drunken driving goes back to 1989, and yet again she stood before a judge Wednesday to be sentenced for driving under the influence.

With her latest conviction, the woman faced up to five years in prison. Prosecutors argued that the time had come for the woman to be locked up long term.

But in the end, Judge Claudia Laycock gave her just 210 days in jail with the option of work release. She was also sentenced to 36 months of probation and a $2,808 fine.

Maryann Lassen's 21-year record includes two convictions in 1994, two more in 1997, another in 2003 and the latest last year.

"Six times she has stood before a judge in Utah County and asked that judge for leniency, said she was sorry and said it wouldn't happen again, and six times the judge believed her," said deputy Utah County attorney Craig Johnson.

In March of last year, Provo police arrested Lassen for driving under the influence near Freedom Boulevard — right next to the state liquor store. A jury found her guilty in June.

A pre-sentence report recommended 90 days in jail. Prosecutors asked that she be sent to the state prison, but the judge sentenced Lassen to 210 days in the county jail, followed by probation.

"She got the same sentence six years ago and didn't learn her lesson," Johnson said. "We believe in escalating sanctions in the county attorney's office, and certainly here where she had the same conduct, she should have been sanctioned more severely."

It's a sentence that is not sitting very well with the organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

"Research actually shows once you've been arrested in drunk driving, you have a much higher risk of getting in a crash and injuring and killing people," said Art Brown with MADD. "That risk needs to be taken into effect, and this one was up to seven times."

MADD calls repeat offenders a serious public safety threat and fears someone will be hurt if Lassen isn't kept off the roads.

"I just wondered on these repeat drunk drivers, how many times do we let them just run around and not get serious with them until they kill somebody?" Brown said.

The judge gave Lassen until Monday at 5 p.m. to report to the jail to begin serving her sentence.

e-mail: spenrod@ksl.com