Joanna Smith
Joanna Smith

A Springettsbury Township woman has been sentenced to prison for committing her third DUI, which also was the second time she was caught driving drunk with her young son in the car, a prosecutor said.

"I consider it a form of child abuse ... whether the child is injured or not," senior deputy prosecutor Jared Mellott said of driving drunk with a child in one's vehicle. "Parents are supposed to be responsible."

Joanna S. Smith's blood-alcohol level was 0.222 percent -- nearly three times the state's legal limit of 0.08 percent -- after state police stopped her about 12:45 a.m. May 27 in the area of Mount Rose Avenue and Greensprings Drive in Springettsbury Township, police said.

Nearly caused crash: She caught the attention of a state trooper when her left tires crossed the center line of the road, police said. The trooper watched as Smith then swerved abruptly to avoid construction barrels and nearly hit an oncoming vehicle head-on, police said.

At the time, her 6-year-old son was in the car, police said. When the trooper stopped her, Smith's speech was slurred and confused and she nearly fell multiple times while trying to perform field sobriety tests, police said.

Smith, 37, of 20 Bridlewood Way, Apt. C22, was sentenced Friday to five years of intensive probation, with the first six months in York County Prison, Mellott said.

She will be allowed to participate in the prison's work-release outmate program, he said.

House arrest: After being released from prison, Smith must spend seven months on house arrest while wearing an ankle cuff that detects any alcohol consumption, according to Mellott.

Common Pleas Judge John S. Kennedy also ordered Smith to pay $3,500 in fines, perform 100 hours of community service, complete highway safety school, undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation and comply with all recommended counseling.

She must report to prison Feb. 3, according to court records.

Guilty plea: Smith pleaded guilty Nov. 8 to third-offense DUI, endangering the welfare of a child, careless driving, third-offense driving drunk at the highest alcohol rate, and driving with a combination of drugs and alcohol in her system.

It was an open plea, meaning it was up to Kennedy to determine the proper punishment, Mellott said.

Mellott said he was disappointed in the sentence, which he described as lenient. He said he had asked Kennedy to sentence Smith to one to five years in county prison.

Her defense attorney, Tim Barrouk, did not return a phone message seeking comment.

Prior cases: In 2010, Smith was charged with DUI, child endangerment, reckless endangerment and fleeing police for causing an alcohol-fueled police chase in Springettsbury Township, allegedly with a child in her car, according to court records.

Mellott said the child was her son, who was 3 years old at the time.

Smith later pleaded guilty to DUI, reckless endangerment and fleeing police and was sentenced to two years of probation, records state. The child-endangerment charge was dropped.

Smith also was charged with drunken driving after a traffic stop in Manchester Township in 2009, records state.

She pleaded guilty to DUI for that incident and was sentenced to probation and ordered to attend DUI classes and undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation, records state.

-- Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com.