The defendant faced up to six years under newly toughened DUI laws that make prison an option for habitual drunken drivers.

Bain could have imposed probation or a community-based incarceration program. He chose a prison sentence in the middle of the range, noting in court that many of Nance’s prior offenses dated to the 1980s and 1990s.

Despite the passage of time, Nance’s 10th lifetime offense deserved time behind bars, said prosecutor Ryan Robertson.

“Certainly this was aggravated in its own right,” he said.

Nance pleaded guilty to the felony DUI count. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to toss remaining charges, including careless driving and failure to carry insurance. Nance’s attorney, public defender Kristin Ladd, couldn’t be reached for comment.

Tougher penalties for repeated drunken drivers went into effect in August, a month after Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill making a fourth DUI a felony punishable by two to six years in prison and up to a $500,000 fine.

Prior to the change, many habitual drunken drivers were used to receiving a ticket and a cab ride home — a ritual that Nance appeared to expect when he was arrested after crashing into another car in the 1500 block of South Nevada Avenue.

No one was injured, and Nance encouraged a Colorado Springs police officer to hurry up and let him go.

“Give me my ticket and let me get out of here,” Nance said with bloodshot eyes and slurred voice, according to Officer Michelle Nethercot, who wrote Nance’s arrest affidavit.

Nance apparently changed his tune in the wake of felony charges, telling Gazette news partner KKTV that he had quit drinking and begun treatment.

Police previously reported that Nance had nine prior DUIs but prosecutors say a 10th was discovered before Wednesday’s sentencing.

At least two DUI-related convictions were in Colorado and at least six were in Texas, records show. Nance’s first conviction came in 1983. He has been pulled over a total of 14 times for alleged drunk driving, according to KKTV.

Thirteen felony DUI arrests were referred to the District Attorney’s Office in the first month after the law went into effect, District Attorney Dan May said. The Gazette is waiting on a request for updated totals.

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