Rojas given maximum term of 15 years in prison for seventh DUI

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: Ruben Rene Rojas, 48, was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in prison on his seventh aggravated DUI conviction. 

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – A man’s inability to curb his habit for drinking and driving will cost him 15 years of his life.

Contributed Photo/Courtesy GCSO: Ruben Rene Rojas

Ruben Rene Rojas, 48, was sentenced by Graham County Superior Court Judge Michael D. Peterson on Tuesday to the maximum term of 15 years in prison on charges of DUI, aggravated DUI, and extreme DUI with a blood/alcohol concentration of more than .20 percent. It was Rojas’ seventh aggravated DUI conviction.

Previously, it took a nine-person jury less than two hours to convict Rojas on his charges after his trial ended Aug. 9. Graham County deputy attorneys Scott R. Adams and Daniel Taylor represented the state, while Rojas was represented by attorney Dennis P. McCarthy.

Rojas’ license was already suspended for his prior DUI’s and he was on probation for a DUI as well. His probation was terminated Aug. 2 after a petition was filed with the court. At that time, Rojas was ordered to spend 3.75 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections. His 15-year sentence was ordered to be served consecutive to that sentence, for a total of 18.75 years with about 1.25 years credit for time served. 

Because he was already on probation when he got his last DUI, Rojas faced a minimum presumptive sentence of 10 years. However, Judge Peterson found aggravators that increased the sentence to 15 years.

Rojas isn’t done with the court yet, however, as he still faces additional charges regarding failure to appear and a separate case involving possession of a narcotic drug for sale, possession of a narcotic drug, possession of a dangerous drug, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

In that case, Rojas was apprehended in February with 2.7 grams of heroin and .4 of a gram of meth after police received an anonymous tip.

While being taken to jail at that time, Rojas allegedly said he was selling the heroin to make money to pay back his father for $15,000 in court fees lost for skipping court.