An Idaho Falls man originally from Mexico was sentenced to three years of probation following a guilty plea to felony excessive DUI. In exchange for the plea, the prosecutor dropped a single misdemeanor charge of an open alcoholic beverage in his vehicle at the time of the traffic stop.
Paulino Severo-Mendieta, 44, will likely be deported back to Mexico after being released from the Blaine County jail on Monday, according to prosecutor Matt Fredback, who said the defendant has a previous criminal record and an immigration hold through Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Because of the immigration hold, there was no option to order outpatient therapy and treatment. Severo-Mendieta has been incarcerated since his arrest in January.
“It saddens me that we’re in this position today,” 5th District Judge Ned Williamson said during the sentencing hearing. “There’s very little I can do in way of sentence that could help you.”
Severo-Mendieta had a previous excessive DUI in 2016. An excessive DUI, according to Idaho code, applies when a suspect has an alcohol concentration of 0.20 or higher. In this case, Severo-Mendieta registered a 0.208 and 0.203 on the blood-alcohol-content indicator.
In his statement to the court, Severo-Mendieta said he had resigned himself to the fact that he would be deported and acknowledged that he had thrown everything away for a few beers. According to a probable-cause affidavit, he was arrested on Jan. 26 after being observed by a Blaine County sheriff’s deputy driving northbound on state Highway 75 at a slow rate and weaving slightly over the fog line on the right side with his blinker on.