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Man gets five years for 7th DUI

A 45-year-old Tampa man was sentenced to five years in prison Friday for his seventh drunken driving conviction. Robert Donald Register, of 410 River Point Drive, pleaded guilty in May to a charge of driving under the influence last August. Hillsborough Circuit Judge Susan Sexton sentenced Register as a habitual offender, meaning he is ineligible for gain time and will serve most of his five-year sentence.

After his release, Register must complete five years of probation and substance abuse treatment.

Assistant State Attorney Nick Cox had requested a full 10-year sentence for Register, whose record, in addition to the previous DUI convictions, includes numerous other felony and misdemeanor convictions and three pages of traffic offenses.

"This guy's driver's license has been suspended or revoked about 14 times," Cox said. "I argued that the only way to keep him off the road is to put him in prison for a long time."

Lewis Garlisi, Register's attorney, said his client has had a long history of abusing both alcohol and illegal drugs, and driving violations related to that abuse.

"It was our opinion he'd do some prison time, but we hoped he could be out sooner to continue treatment," Garlisi said.

According to Cox and court records, Register was arrested Aug. 30, 1990, after an officer noticed him speeding and weaving in traffic. After he was stopped, Register refused to take a breath test to measure blood-alcohol content.