STEVEN K. MEEKS, d/o/b 11-09-1964, of Branson, was sentenced by Taney County Circuit Court Judge Laura Johnson on Thursday, June 18, 2015, to ten (10) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections, for the clall B felony of driving while intoxicated. The sentence was part of a plea agreement that would allow Meeks to argue to be sentenced to a one-year treatment program in the Missouri Department of Corrections, while the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office would argue for the ten (10) year sentence.

Meeks was arrested by a trooper with the Missouri State Highway Patrol for driving while intoxicated in the early morning hours of December 22, 2013, on Highway 76, in Branson. His blood-alcohol level was 0.15%. As it turned out, Meeks had at least five (5) prior alcohol-related offenses on his record, which enhanced his charge from a class B misdemeanor to a class B felony.

The range of punishment for a class B felony is five (5) to fifteen (15) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. “First-time DWI offenses are typically class B misdemeanors, and second-time DWI offenses are typically class A misdemeanors,” says Taney County Prosecutor Jeff Merrell. “Circuit Court Judge Laura Johnson will only preside over felony DWI cases, where the defendant has multiple prior DWI convictions. This was the scenario with Mr. Meeks’ case.”

Merrell goes on to say, “these repeat DWI offenders present a clear danger to our community. At some point, the only way to protect our citizens is to lock these offenders up so they can’t drive drunk.”