AUGUSTA — A Winthrop man was sentenced to an initial 30 months behind bars Monday for charges related to his sixth conviction for drunken driving.

Derek D. Bonenfant, 43, was sentenced to eight years in prison, with all but the initial 30 months suspended and three years probation. His driver’s license and registration privileges were suspended for 10 years.

He had pleaded guilty in May 2017 to charges of aggravated operating under the influence and operating after revocation, offenses which occurred July 18, 2015, in Manchester.

Bonenfant was out on bail since then. On Monday at the Capital Judicial Center, he pleaded guilty to two additional charges of violating conditions of release, both of which involved drinking alcohol while he was free on that bail.

Assistant District Attorney Tyler LeClair said that in the underlying charge Bonenfant was stopped for speeding and was found with blood shot eyes and smelled of intoxicants. “He admitted he had been drinking alcohol that night, then refused to cooperate further,” LeClair said, adding that Bonenfant refused a breathalyzer test.

LeClair asked that Bonenfant spend an initial three years behind bars — the cap he and Bonenfant’s attorney Walter McKee negotiated earlier. LeClair said Bonenfant needed to be restrained for public safety.

“Not only the actions on the night of offense are a risk to the public, but his conduct since then is still a risk,” LeClair argued.

Bonenfant previously was ordered to serve a year behind bars for felony OUI conviction in 2007 and then had a second one in 2008, both in Kennebec County. He ended up serving 40 months behind bars on a probation revocation.

“This would not be the longest period of incarceration he has spent,” LeClair said in support of the full three years.

McKee suggested a 15-month period of initial incarceration, saying Bonenfant has always held a good job involving concrete work.

“He will acknowledge to you today alcohol has been his demon,” McKee told Justice William Stokes. McKee said Bonenfant acquired his first three OUI convictions in rapid succession in 1996 when he had a series of personal problems.

“He fell off the wagon here,” McKee argued. “We just don’t think going from a one-year sentence to a three-year sentence is appropriate.”

“I’ve been very selfish,” Bonenfant told Stokes. “I do have an alcohol problem. I recognize that. I’m just asking for a little mercy. I’m not really a bad guy. I think I just made some bad decisions.”

Stokes said he was troubled by the fact that Bonenfant was still drinking even while knowing he faced a significant sentence.

“I understand the compulsion; it’s an addiction,” Stokes said. “I can’t overlook the fact that this is No. 6.”

Stokes added, “He’s gotten behind the wheel while he’s been intoxicated at least six times; it’s a wonder he wasn’t killed or some innocent motorist.”

Conditions of probation prohibit Bonenfant from use or possession of alcohol or illegal drugs, and he was fined a total of $3,100.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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