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Dowagiac woman who showed up drunk to court jailed

Published 12:15pm Friday, April 12, 2013

CASSOPOLIS — A Dowagiac woman who showed up intoxicated to her sentencing hearing for drunken driving last week is headed to jail.

Judge Michael Dodge sentenced Dawn Mendoza, 49, to 365 days in jail and two years of probation Friday in Cass County Circuit Court.

Mendoza, who gets credit for 82 days already served, must also complete a substance abuse treatment program with the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians.

Mendoza was originally scheduled for sentencing April 5, but the hearing was adjourned when Mendoza showed up late and with a blood alcohol level of .22.

Mendoza had an explanation for why she showed up drunk to court April 5.

“I know I shouldn’t have come in that condition, but I didn’t want to disrespect you (Judge Dodge) by not coming,” she said.

Mendoza pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle while intoxicated on Feb. 15. The charge resulted from her being caught driving drunk on Riverside Drive in Dowagiac Dec. 8. Her blood alcohol level was .21.

Mendoza’s prior record includes four felonies and nine misdemeanors, most of them related to alcohol and substance abuse. She’s twice been sent to prison for drunken driving.

“She is a traveling time bomb and very lucky she didn’t hurt anybody else or herself,” said Tiffiny Vohwinkle, assistant prosecutor.

Sentencing guidelines were 10 to 34 months.

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