PROVO — A man with 13 convictions for driving under the influence was sentenced to prison with stern counsel to finally acknowledge a drinking problem.

Ricky D. Ferguson, 55, was sentenced Thursday on two separate third-degree felonies of driving under the influence and illegal possession or use of a controlled substance.

He was arrested in Provo on April 14 and booked into jail for allegations of drug possession and public intoxication. He bailed out on May 1.

Four days later he was arrested again, this time for investigation of DUI with priors, driver's license denied, alcohol-restricted driver, open container and stop-sign violation, according to jail records.

Those two arrests were the cases Ferguson pleaded guilty to Thursday, but his criminal history dates back to 1971 and includes 13 DUI arrests and convictions in Utah, according to prosecutor John Nielsen.

"Thirteen DUI convictions ... has to be a problem," 4th District Judge Gary Stott told Ferguson. "He doesn't qualify for DORA, he's unwilling to take responsibility for prior convictions as well. Due to his attitude and significant criminal history ... probation is not requested or even recommended."

The Drug Offender Reform Act known as DORA is a substance-abuse program for individuals coming out of prison or jail.

Stott sentenced Ferguson to zero to five years in prison and recommended that his sentences run concurrently.

Defense attorney Tom Means had asked for a chance at probation for Ferguson, which Stott denied.

"I do not want to read about a judge who releases you on probation the 14th, 15th DUI and somebody is killed, seriously injured," Stott said. "If it happens again, it's not going to be during my time in terms of handling the cases."

He continued, advising Ferguson to take advantage of the programs in the prison.

"I hope that while you're at the state prison," Stott said, "(you) maybe take a good hard look at the fact that you might consider you have a drinking problem and might consider doing something about it."

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