Court action

MADISON — A teacher at Plainview High School was sentenced to jail Tuesday in county court here for driving under the influence — second offense.

Blake Mosel, 31, had originally been charged with DUI — third offense, but the complaint was reduced in exchange for a guilty plea last month.

As part of that plea agreement, Madison County Deputy Attorney Joe Hurd made no recommendation at sentencing Tuesday, aside from drawing attention to Mosel’s prior record.

Mosel’s attorney, Martin Klein, said his client was not typical of cases involving multiple DUI offenders he has worked with.

Klein, who said he has known Mosel for many years as both an attorney as well as personally, said he had never seen Mosel intoxicated in public or even out in social situations very often.

Klein said Mosel’s first DUI came when he was 18 and in college. Klein added that most everyone in the courtroom had likely either been in that same situation or could have been.

Regarding Mosel’s second DUI, Klein said his client had been in O’Neill and didn’t have a ride home. Mosel, who had been drinking, fell asleep in his car instead of driving.

It snowed, and Mosel woke up cold and turned his car on. He fell back asleep but was found with the car running and, as a result, was charged with DUI, Klein said.

The last DUI came about in February of this year, and that case “was a little unique” due to “some issues with the (breath) test,” Klein said.

He told Judge Michael Long that Mosel would likely lose the right to teach and had already lost the right to coach due to the current DUI charge.

As far as punishment, Klein said, “I don’t know what more the court can do.”

He asked Long to consider sentencing Mosel to probation and community service as that might allow Mosel to finish out teaching the current school year. If that sentence was not possible, Klein asked that Mosel be sentenced to jail over the holiday break.

When Mosel was given the opportunity to address the court, he read from a prepared statement.

He said that his life had changed forever following his February arrest, and he felt like he is in a nightmare he can’t get out of. Mosel said he has apologized to his family, friends and employers.

Mosel also said that he had been fired from coaching speech and track following his DUI, and that he had been suspended as a football coach. He said his teaching contract is now in question as well.

Mosel said he pledged his life to sobriety since the February incident and that it was not a difficult undertaking, since he was not a heavy drinker. It was the few times he had drank that had gotten him into trouble, he said.

Mosel told Long that he stood to lose everything if he was sentenced to jail.

“The reality is, if I go to jail, I will lose my job,” Mosel said.

He apologized and asked for a sentence of community service.

Long said that he agreed with Klein that Mosel was not a typical DUI case.

“The truth is, most people who come to court don't have any stake in the community. I know that’s not you ... We pretend like they do have a stake. The truth is, they don’t care. ... we all sit here in court and pretend they do,” Long said.

“Mr. Klein is right, we’ve all been in these situations as young people. ... Your whole life is in front of you. You need to make something good out of this,” Long said.

But he told Mosel that the DUI sentence had to be about deterrence for society, and, hopefully, others would pay attention to their own behaviors because of it.

Long then sentenced Mosel to 45 days in jail with credit for one day served. He was also ordered to pay a $500 fine and court costs. Mosel’s driver’s license also was revoked for 18 months.

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