Senate Candidate Explains His Criminal Past

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RIVERSIDE, Mo. --  A candidate for U.S. Senate is speaking to FOX 4 about his criminal history and why he hopes voters will look beyond it, after FOX 4 yesterday aired a story detailing his past run-ins with the law.

"My experiences with the criminal justice system were some of the motivating reasons that prompt me to run for office," said Jonathan Dine.

The Libertarian US Senate candidate has campaigned on his philosophy that laws should be limited, including laws against marijuana. That issue hits close to home. Dine served less than a year in prison for possession of marijuana, a felony. Cops seized four plants and more than 500 grams of pot from his home. Dine also spent some time in jail in Kansas, convicted of ID theft and theft, Dine says he used his brothers drivers license to buy a used car that ended up being stolen. But he says his experiences with the justice system opened his eyes.

"You are almost coerced to plead guilty, 'if we take this to trial you might spend more time in here you could get a larger sentence if found guilty,'" says Dine. "If you don't have money, resources to bond out or hire a lawyer it makes it hard to prove your innocence."

Dine says that's a lesson he learned again back in December when he got a DWI, Driving While Intoxicated.

"I had four alcoholic beverages within a span of 2 1/2 hours and I drove home," he says. "Right in front of my apartment complex I was going over the speed limit by 10 miles an hour."

Dine got pulled over and now after battling it in court he's got a suspended sentence, so he's on probation for the next two years.

"It's more about revenue generation then it is about protecting the streets," he says.

Dine admits he may not have much of a shot in November, but he hopes being in the race shakes things up.

"Both my opponents are unpopular at this time so a lot of people are looking for the alternative to the two-party system," Dine says.

It is legal for Dine to be on the ballot in a federal election, despite his criminal history. Even though there's a state law banning state and local candidates with a record, there is no similar federal law.

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