A Texas man arrested on suspicion of first-offense drunken driving posted a $200 bond and walked out of a Nebraska jail without facing a judge. The Associated Press reports that it was 44-year-old Robert Hood’s fourth DUI arrest in three states in less than two weeks. Hood was charged as a first-time offender under Nebraska law and allowed to pay 10 percent of the $2,000 bond because officials had no inkling of the other pending DUIs. That’s because the FBI-run national computer system used by states shows only those people who have been fingerprinted when arrested. The arrests of some suspects, such as Hood, can go undetected if they are not fingerprinted or if the information is delayed getting into the system.
In Hood’s case, the system did not show his recent DUI arrests – one in Wyoming, two in South Dakota. That lack of information is allowing repeat DUI offenders across the country to easily post low bonds and go on their way. “If judges are made aware of other pending charges, it could justify a higher bond to (ensure) the person appears in court,” said Judge Todd Hutton of suburban Omaha. “The judges make their decisions based on the information they are provided. They can’t act on information that is not brought to their attention.” The FBI hopes that a new national system, still in the pilot stage, will alert authorities when a defendant has multiple DUI offenses pending in other states. The National Data Exchange or N-DEx for short, is designed to link local, state and federal records.