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Felony DWI charge for Pawling judge

If one isn't careful, a DWI arrest can happen to just about anyone. Recently, a Pawling Village Court justice was arrested and now faces the possibility of a second DWI conviction.

The justice was arrested by Carmel police officers after they were notified of a possible drunk driver in the area. The justice was pulled over on Route 6 and taken into custody after he allegedly failed several field sobriety tests. Because this is the judge's second DWI arrest, he will likely be treated as a repeat offender, making the potential consequences especially severe. He has been charged with felony DWI and failing to take a breath test.

DWI charges were first filed against the judge in 2009. On Nov. 26 of that year, he was involved in a traffic accident several hours after consuming alcohol at his home. For that incident, he was convicted of misdemeanor DWI, but it wasn't until January 2012 that he was censured for the conviction by the state Commission on Judicial Conduct.

The judge has been practicing law for 20 years and has held his current position since 1991. His term is set to end December 2013, but he might not be able to complete it if he is convicted of this latest charge.

Still, like everyone else, police officers do make mistakes, and such errors can lead to a reduction or dismissal of charges against a defendant. In this case, the judge's attorney may seek to point out such errors or have the felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor.

The judge was arraigned by a Carmel justice and is due back in court on Aug. 6. Since he apparently refused a breath test, there is no record of his blood-alcohol content, and the outcome of his case remains to be seen.

Source: Poughkeepsie Journal, "Pawling judge charged with felony DWI, police say," Chris Valdez, July 24, 2012

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