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Idaho man with 12 lifetime DUIs receives life sentence, with possibility of parole after 13

Kent Sams, 54, was found guilty of his fifth felony DUI in June.
Credit: Ada County Sheriff's Office

BOISE, Idaho — A man found guilty of felony driving under the influence five times, and a total of 12 lifetime DUIs, is going to prison for at least 13 years.

Ada County District Judge Peter Barton on Friday sentenced 54-year-old Kent Sams of Nampa to life in prison, with the possibility of parole after serving the 13-year fixed portion of his sentence.

Sams was serving parole for two previous felony DUI convictions in August 2021 when he was called in after passing out in the flowerbeds outside an Idaho State Liquor store, the Ada County Prosecutor's Office said in a news release. Police who were called to the store saw him stumble into his truck. They pulled up behind Sams as he was getting ready to back out of his parking spot. Sams' blood alcohol content registered at 0.259, more than three times the legal limit.

A jury in June 2022 convicted Sams of felony DUI for that offense, making it Sams' fifth lifetime felony DUI. He has DUI convictions dating back to 1990, including five from Washington state and seven around Idaho.

The Ada County Prosecutor's Office asked Judge Barton to sentence Sams to life in prison with 20 years fixed, citing the risk he poses to the community "every time he is released into the community." With the fixed portion if his prison sentence set at 13 years, Sams won't have an opportunity for possible release until the year 2035.

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