URBANA — If you plan to plead guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol, please consider the following tips:
A) Do not drive yourself to the courthouse.
B) If you do drive yourself to the courthouse, do not park in a space reserved for a judge.
Boblue Dagbe did both those things Tuesday morning and now finds himself with even more cases to resolve than the one for which he came to court.
The 28-year-old Champaign man appeared in Judge John Kennedy's courtroom a few minutes before his scheduled 9 a.m. court hearing in an aggravated DUI case but parked in the spot reserved for Judge Heidi Ladd.
When Ladd showed up for work about 8:50 a.m., she saw the car in her spot and contacted court security officers to take care of it, something they routinely do.
Because Kennedy was conducting a call that featured many people in his courtroom at 9 a.m., court security officers knew to check his courtroom first for the possible parking offender.
When Officer Mark Maidens asked if anyone in the courtroom was driving a purple Honda with a certain license plate, Dagbe stepped forward,
Maidens told him he needed to move his car, which he did, an act that another court security officer witnessed.
But knowing that Dagbe was in court for a felony DUI, the alert but skeptical Maidens suggested that his colleague run a check on the status of Dagbe's license.
That check revealed that Dagbe's license had been suspended and therefore he should not have been driving.
After moving the car, Dagbe returned to the courtroom and pleaded guilty to the aggravated DUI case that brought him to court. He admitted that on Jan. 5, he was driving in Champaign at a time when his blood alcohol concentration was 0.08 percent or greater.
His sentence, which Kennedy has yet to confirm pending an alcohol evaluation, is that he will serve two years of probation and 90 days in jail. He was also fined $2,250, ordered to attend a victim impact panel and get the evaluation.
Assistant State's Attorney Elizabeth Dornik said Dagbe had a prior DUI conviction from Arizona as well as another Arizona conviction for driving with a suspended license. He was charged with aggravated DUI because he had no valid license at the time of his Jan. 5 arrest.
After pleading guilty, a sheriff's deputy issued him a new ticket for driving without a valid license on Tuesday and took him to jail.
And he got a parking ticket from the city of Urbana for parking in Ladd's space.