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Published: Wednesday, 6/8/2005

Defiance man charged with 18th DUI nears state record

Briseno Briseno
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DEFIANCE - Antonio Briseno, 42, of Defiance, who's unemployed and has not had a valid driver's license in more than 20 years, was indicted on his 18th charge of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

The indictment filed yesterday in Defiance County Common Pleas Court for his arrest on Memorial Day is his second indictment for driving under the influence since he was released from prison less than four months ago. If convicted on both indictments - he is to appear in Defiance County Common Pleas Court tomorrow on the first indictment - he would become the third Ohioan with 18 convictions for driving under the influence, according to Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles records.

Briseno is now one of 13 Ohioans with 16 convictions for driving under the influence, according to the bureau. The record is 19 convictions, held by two Ohioans.

If not for the dismissal of another charge against him last spring, Briseno would be in line for the record 19 convictions.

In March, 2004, a charge of driving under the influence was dismissed in Defiance Municipal Court, apparently because Briseno's arrest was a parole violation and he had been sent back to prison, Municipal Court Judge John T. Rohrs III said.

Briseno has been in and out of prisons and jails for years. Most frustrating, Judge Rohrs said, is that Briseno, who was an amateur boxer as a teen, is from a good family, is polite, and appears to get in trouble solely because of alcohol. His beverage of choice seems to be beer.

The guy had talent if he had not fallen into this, Judge Rohrs said.

During his latest term in prison, Briseno was paroled four times and returned to prison each time on violations, all of which appear to involve driving under the influence.

He began a prison term in 1990, was paroled in 1993, returned in 1995, was paroled in 1996, returned in 1997, was paroled in 1999, returned in 2001, was paroled in 2002, and returned in 2003.

He also spent 11 months from 1988 to 1989 in prison. Last night, he remained in the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio; it is the 16th time he has been held in the regional jail in 13 years.

His record of convictions and suspensions with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles is seven pages, the longest bureau spokesman Fred Stratmann said he s ever seen.

Briseno has not been involved in an accident with injuries, but he is unlikely to ever get a driver s license again, Mr. Stratmann said. One sentence calls for his license to be suspended through 2020 and other sentences call for indefinite suspensions.

Lack of a license, however, has not stopped Briseno from driving. Fourteen of his 16 convictions for driving under the influence came from arrests when he didn t have a valid license, Mr. Stratmann said.

If convicted again, Briseno faces on each indictment:

• 60 days to one year in jail.

• Five-year license suspension because he refused to properly take a breath alcohol test; authorities said he spit in the machine. Otherwise, he would face a three-year suspension.

• Fine of $750 to $10,000.

• Alcohol treatment program at his expense.

If the sport utility vehicle he was driving on Memorial Day had been his own, he also would face the forfeiture of the vehicle. But it belonged to his parents he lives with them and he took it without their permission, according to authorities.

Briseno failed field sobriety tests so overwhelmingly that a deputy stopped one test because Briseno was about to fall over, according to a Defiance County sheriff s report.

The other pending indictment against him is from a Feb. 24 arrest 13 days after he was released from prison.

Contact Jane Schmucker at:jschmucker@theblade.com or 419-337-7780.



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