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Driver gets no jail time for new DUI charge

He tells the court he hasn't had alcohol since a 1994 manslaughter conviction.

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 6, 2000

DADE CITY -- A Brooksville man who pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter in 1994 and was spared from prison got another break Friday.

Circuit Judge Wayne Cobb, after a two-hour hearing Friday afternoon, found that James Lenox violated his probation on the 1994 conviction by driving under the influence of alcohol on Sept. 4 in Miami Shores.

But Circuit Judge Wayne Cobb sentenced Lenox to one year of community control and two years of probation.

Prosecutors recommended that Lenox, 51, be sentenced to seven years in a state prison. Lenox faced a similar punishment in 1994, but a judge suspended the sentence after the victim's family asked that Lenox not be sent to prison.

Lenox, an architect, had served two years of house arrest and four years of probation when he was arrested on a DUI charge in Miami.

Lenox argued Friday that he had not had a drop of alcohol since 1994 and was fumbling for his heart medicine when Miami Shores police pulled him over for crossing the center line.

Officers testified Friday that Lenox had an odor of alcohol on his breath, his eyes were blood-shot, his speech was slurred and he had trouble standing.

Lenox testified that he had been drinking non-alcoholic beer several hours before his arrest. He also said he wasn't feeling well because of heart problems and he been working around-the-clock on blueprints for a new Miami nightclub.

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