Friday, January 4, 2013

Senator Mike Crapo Pleads Guilty To DUI, Loses License For One Year, Discloses How He Got Started Drinking

On Friday January 4th, 2013, Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, appeared in Alexandria General District Court and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DUI. He was ordered to pay a $250 fine, complete an alcohol safety program, and relinquish his driver's license for 12 months. His 180-day jail sentence was suspended contingent upon continued good behavior, which means he'll be able to continue his Senatorial duties. In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors dropped a charge of failing to obey a traffic signal.

The offenses occurred on December 23th, 2012 when Crapo was stopped for running a red light. The police officer smelled alcohol, administered field sobriety tests which Crapo failed, and arrested Crapo. A blood alcohol test reportedly showed a BAC of .11. Crapo immediately took responsibility for his actions and issued an apology.

The Ogden Standard-Examiner details how Sen. Crapo got sucked into drinking. Crapo said he tried alcohol for the first time about a year ago, though he couldn’t remember the details. It was a misguided attempt to relieve stress, and he always kept his use of alcohol hidden, drinking alone in his Washington, D.C., apartment. The night of his arrest was the first time he had driven drunk. Sen. Crapo consumed as many as three vodka tonics on the night of December 22nd when he became restless, couldn’t sleep and went out for a drive. It wasn’t until he’d already been driving for about 30 minutes when he realized he was in no condition to drive and started to return home. But then he ran that red light......

Crapo said he regretted bringing shame to himself and his faith because of the arrest and he would take the appropriate measures for forgiveness and repentance in the LDS Church. Those measures will include an interview with his Priesthood chain of command, most likely his stake president. Because Crapo is penitent and it was not an aggravated DUI, I foresee no penalty beyond probation; his temple recommend may be pulled for a year, but no disfellowshipment or excommunication.

The reaction by commenters to the various media stories is excessively harsh and judgmental, and reflects how self-righteous many of the American people have become. Sen. Crapo made a mistake -- but his simple DUI involved no injury, fatality, or property damage. In our justice system, we hold someone accountable for their actual deeds, not for what could have happened. Sen. Crapo has been judged and has repented of his actions.

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