A St. Paul Park man whose arrest on his 20th drunken driving charge in 2009 sparked a cry for tougher state laws has been sentenced for that offense.
As part of a plea agreement, Paul D. Garay, 57, was sentenced Wednesday to a year in jail by Washington County District Judge Ellen Maas. He was given credit for 316 days he has served.
Garay was arrested Dec. 24, 2009, when he drove off Hwy. 61 near its junction with Interstate 494 in Newport, the criminal complaint says. His blood-alcohol content measured 0.16, twice the legal limit for driving.
Charged with three gross misdemeanors, two were dismissed and Garay agreed to plead guilty to one.
Under Minnesota law, a fourth such gross misdemeanor offense in 10 years becomes a felony carrying harsher punishment. But only two of his previous drunken-driving convictions have occurred within the previous decade, records show.
When Garay was arrested, advocates for tougher drunken driving laws said the case was a prime example of flaws in the system.