A Santa Rosa man whose punishment for his 19th drunken driving conviction was criticized last week as too lenient was arrested again for possessing alcohol and was back in jail, authorities said Monday.
A visiting Alameda County Judge Thursday sentenced William Rylan Beall, 65, to six months in jail for his latest DUI offense. But Beall could end up serving it in an alcohol treatment facility if bed space becomes available.
Prosecutors decried Judge Julie Conger's decision, saying it amounted to a slap on the wrist for a man whose record of driving drunk spans 44 years and includes three collisions.
Prosecutors also lamented that Beall, a real estate agent who lives in Oakmont, was allowed to be home for the holidays until Jan. 21, when Beall was to learn the details of his sentence.
But on Saturday, Beall was arrested again after Santa Rosa police and county probation officers searched his home and found alcohol there.
Beall is forbidden from having alcohol under the terms of his probation. He also is subject to a search at any time.
Beall told officers when they arrived at his house that he had forgotten that he had a bottle of wine in his refrigerator and that he'd contacted a friend to come pick it up the following day, said Petaluma Police Sgt. Ken Savano.
Savano said officers found the unopened bottle of wine, plus two unopened bottles of Irish creme and an unopened bottle of tequila that Beall failed to mention, Savano said.
Beall told a probation officer prior to his sentencing Thursday that he fell off the wagon after being sober for eight years because of financial problems and ill health.
Beall's driver's license was suspended following his most recent arrest in July and he now faces a potential four-year license revocation.
The officers who searched his home on Saturday were taking part in a countywide DUI task force that targets habitual offenders and steps up DUI enforcement during holiday periods.
Savano, who oversees the task force, said he was unaware of Beall's lengthy criminal history prior to reading about it in the media.
He said task force members decided to make a probation search of Beall's home a priority on Saturday during their previously scheduled check on habitual DUI offenders countywide.
"When this guy's story hit the paper and we heard he had 19 prior convictions, we certainly felt that he was a significant risk to the citizens of this county," Savano said. "That's why he was a priority."
Beall, whose arrest was on suspicion of violating his probation, was booked into the Sonoma County Jail on a no-bail hold. He was due in court today.
Sonoma County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Bill Brockley on Monday said he could not comment on Beall's most recent arrest except to say that he was "relieved" that Beall was back in custody.