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A judge sentenced a man to five years with the Montana Department of Corrections on Thursday with a recommendation that he repeat a custodial program after his sixth conviction for drunken driving.

Thomas Scott Anderson, 27, had five previous DUI convictions when he was arrested for a sixth at Hancock Avenue and Fairmont Street in Butte this past Oct. 28.

According to prosecutors, he was stopped for speeding, showed obvious signs of impairment, and had a 24-pack of Budweiser sitting on the passenger floorboard of a pickup he was driving.

District Judge Kurt Krueger noted that Anderson had previously been through a six-month program called Warm Springs Addiction Treatment and Change, or WATCh. It has been run through the Butte-based nonprofit Community Counseling and Correctional Services and the Montana DOC since 2002 and mixes elements of treatment, accountability, and discipline.

Prosecutors recommended the sentence, and Sean Peterson, Anderson’s public defender, agreed with it, saying it would allow his client to get help for his problem with alcohol and driving after drinking.

“I believe he is prepared to change his life,” Peterson said.

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Krueger said if he didn’t make the best of his time again at WATCh and stop breaking the law, he would do time in prison.

“I hope you will actually learn some skills,” the judge told him.

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Government and politics reporter

Mike Smith is a reporter at the Montana Standard with an emphasis on government and politics.

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