Saying that convicted murderer and drunk driver David Earl Fleming "poses a direct threat to society and this community," a U.S. magistrate in Alexandria ordered yesterday that the Fairfax County man be jailed without bond on charges of driving under the influence and violating a court order forbidding him ever to drive.

Magistrate Curtis W. Sewell denied a request from Fleming's attorney that Fleming be released to the custody of his brother, citing Fleming's "long and continuous pattern of driving while intoxicated" and his "disregard for the law." Sewell asked that lawyers bring Fleming to trial early next month.

In June 1983, Fleming, a former carpenter, was convicted of second-degree murder in the death of Margaret Haley, a Fairfax County mother of 11. Fleming was driving 80 miles an hour down the wrong side of the George Washington Parkway during rush hour when his car smashed into Haley's. Fleming's blood alcohol content at the time was three times the minimum required for a drunk-driving conviction.

According to court testimony yesterday, Fleming, 60, has three other drunk-driving convictions dating back to 1955 and has driver's licenses from Virginia, Maryland, Texas and the District of Columbia, all of which have been suspended.

Fleming's 90-year-old mother, Eva Coffman, said in an interview yesterday that her son's alcoholism dates to World War II and that his repeated efforts to conquer it have failed. "David's not a mean guy; he just can't control alcohol," she said teary-eyed.

"There's not a better man in the world," said Coffman, dressed in a white bathrobe as she sat in the living room of her Mount Vernon home. "It changes him completely when he's not drinking. He'll do anyone else a favor and he's good to me . . . .

"He gets one can of beer and he's gone," she said. "He drinks until he's sick . . . . He knows he needs help more than he needs punishment."

The latest incident involving Fleming came Nov. 9, when he was in a minor collision on the George Washington Parkway, a few miles from his home and the site of the fatal 1983 crash. U.S. Park Police charged him with driving while intoxicated and failure to stay in his lane.

But according to court testimony yesterday, at the time Fleming was charged he was carrying a Virginia driver's license issued July 20 of this year. The Park Police have said that a computer background check on Nov. 9 failed to uncover his previous convictions and that he was not jailed.

Fleming was not charged with driving on a revoked license or jailed until Wednesday, after a police records officer recognized Fleming's name on an arrest report. It remains unclear how Fleming was issued a new driver's license by the state after the federal court ordered that he never drive again.

It was also unclear when federal court officials notified the Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles that Fleming's license had been revoked.

Prosecutors entered into evidence a copy of a computer check of Fleming's driving record that was performed yesterday. The document included information about Fleming's drunk-driving conviction in the 1983 fatal collison and indicated that his driver's license had been revoked.

John Cox, the deputy clerk of U.S. District Court in charge of the Alexandria office, said he could not determine exactly when his office notified the Division of Motor Vehicles of the permanent suspension, but said the notice should have been given in February 1984, shortly after Fleming's trial. He said that the record check performed yesterday "makes it look like it's their {DMV's} fault" that Fleming was issued a new license in July.

Nancy Saunders, the division's driver improvement division manager, said state law forbids her to comment on an individual's driving record, but pointed out that yesterday's record check came 11 days after Fleming was charged with driving while intoxicated.

"In all matters like this, we enter information regarding license suspensions into our computer within five to 10 days of receiving it," Saunders said. Saunders declined to say whether the division had been notified of Fleming's 1983 conviction in the last 10 days.

Fleming's mother said that her son's drinking has been a major cause of two divorces and trouble in his current marriage. Fleming married his high school sweetheart when he was 19, Coffman said, and married again in 1956. She said both marriages lasted only a few years, and in 1968 he wed his current wife Evangelina.

Coffman said Fleming lives in her Mount Vernon home, but that he often commutes to two houses, one in El Paso and one in Juarez, Mexico, where Evangelina lives. "He swears he loves her, but he can't quit drinking for her," Coffman said.

Coffman said Fleming told her after the latest incident that his wife had been driving, but often was lost. Fleming on taking the wheel, she said.

Fleming does not remember the 1983 fatal accident, in which he was seriously injured and later required a hip replacement, Coffman said.

"He don't remember a thing about it," said Coffman. "I wish he did."