Johnson sent back to jail on seventh conviction

Published 11:59 am Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Steven Anthony Johnson, a 56-year-old Mecklenburg man, formerly of Lunenburg, was sentenced recently in Lunenburg Circuit Court to one year and two months in prison on his seventh conviction of driving as a habitual offender.

According to Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Clement, statistical studies have shown that repeat offenders, such as Johnson, are much more likely to be involved in tragic accidents, so the legislature created harsher penalties for such offenders.

Clement said that Johnson was fortunate that the judge imposed the lower end of the sentencing guidelines. The midpoint was two years and eight months.

“The judge also ordered that, upon his release, Johnson enter and successfully complete an inpatient rehabilitation program for substance abuse in Louisiana which the defense counsel said had accepted Johnson which typically lasts three to four months, but may take as much as a year,” said Clement.

“Johnson has six prior convictions of driving as a habitual offender starting in 1986 in Lunenburg and as recently as 2011 in Brunswick County. He has served about seven years for the offenses. Additionally, Johnson has convictions of reckless driving, possession of marijuana, four convictions of driving under the influence, bad checks, assault and battery of a family member and possession of firearm by felon.”

On Dec. 9, Johnson drove to a traffic checkpoint where Sgt. Adam Martin, of the Lunenburg Sheriff’s Office, determined that he was suspended by DMV and was a habitual offender.

Johnson told Martin that he was going to a doctor’s appointment because of high blood pressure, Clement said.

He was declared a habitual offender in 1986 because of previous DUIs and driving-suspended offenses.

Johnson received an additional three years and 10 months suspended subject to being on supervised probation upon his release, good behavior for five years, completing the rehabilitation program, warrantless searches and no operation of any type of vehicle.