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No License To Drive

February 27, 2008, 10:00 PM by Lou Raguse

No License To Drive
People who've seen her drive tell KELOLAND News she didn't even appear to know how. So that made us wonder just how many people in the Sioux Falls area are caught driving unlicensed.

Click the video player icon to watch.

On the docket:  19 people scheduled to see a judge for driving without a valid license.

"Drivers license violations are probably the most numerous kinds of cases we deal with in magistrate court," Minnehaha County State's Attorney Dave Nelson said.

Nineteen-year-old Shyla Baltzell has been convicted before of driving without a license. She was caught two more times in the last month. In one instance, she ran a flashing red light. But just minutes after admitting this to a judge, she's back behind the wheel.

"See, somebody like that needs to be going to jail. Because if they do, maybe that will cause them to think more than twice before they do it again," Nelson said.

Nelson isn't surprised to hear of a defendant without a license driving away right after a conviction.

"No. Happens every day," he said.

Several of the unlicensed drivers in the courtroom brought along a friend or family member to drive. But more than one defendant started their engines after court.

Unlike Baltzell, 30-year-old Maskram Judy immediately turns off her car when confronted. She too just pleaded guilty to driving without a valid license.

But what if our camera hadn't been there? It seems Judy was ready to - at least - drive home, breaking the same law that brought her to court in the first place. 

"It's becoming a revolving door. Drivers license violations in South Dakota and Minnehaha County - they've become a revolving door," Nelson said.

A problem at the Minnehaha County Courthouse, you can likely see on any given morning.

Nelson believes mandatory jail time for repeat offenders could help cut down on the number of people who drive without a license. He says everyone, including judges, should start taking the problem more seriously.

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