MICHAEL L. DODSON, d/o/b 12-21-1967, of Branson, entered a guilty plea on Thursday, February 11, 2016, in the Circuit Court of Taney County, to the class B felony of driving while intoxicated. Judge Laura Johnson scheduled sentencing for April 13, 2016.

On February 23, 2012, Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Terry Bible was on routine patrol on Missouri Highway 165, when he observed Dodson’s vehicle cross the center line multiple times. Once Trooper Bible contacted Dodson, he smelled the odor of intoxicants. Dodson admitted to the Trooper that his driver’s license was suspended for alcohol convictions, and that he probably could not pass field sobriety tests at that moment. Eventually, Dodson submitted a breath sample that showed his blood-alcohol content was .083% – which exceeds the limit allowed by Missouri law.

Driving while intoxicated, as a first offense, is normally a class B misdemeanor, and handled by the Associate Circuit Courts. However, Dodson has at least eleven (11) intoxication-related traffic convictions, resulting in his charge being a class B felony for being a “chronic” D.W.I. offender. The range of punishment for a class B felony is not less than five (5) years in prison and not more than fifteen (15) years in prison. Because Dodson is also a prior and persistent felony offender – having two (2) or more prior felony convictions for driving while intoxicated – he faces an enhanced maximum punishment of up to thirty (30) years in prison.

Pursuant to a plea agreement with the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office, Dodson will not be sentenced to more than eighteen (18) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections.