Law enforcement officer sentenced at on-campus DUI court


Matthew Wilke

Chaplain Angela Kellogg discusses some of the issues that come from driving under the influence at a DUI Court held on campus last week.

Matthew Wilke and Matthew Wilke

A law enforcement officer was sentenced to two days in jail at the first ever DUI Court held on the American River College campus in the community rooms on Friday, Nov. 7.

The officer, identified only as Matt by his attorney, pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol.

“I was partying and thought I was okay to drive home,” said Matt. “I was pulled over by the police after running through two stop signs. Officers pulled me over and they noticed I appeared to be intoxicated, so they ran a breathalyzer test and scored the .08 alcohol level. I was immediately put into Sac. County Jail.”

Judge Michael Downman, who has been a judge for less than a year, heard the case.

“Anybody can make this tragic mistake,” said Downman.

The presentation began with a file video that presented reenactments of young people abusing alcohol and drugs, then cut to graphic images of car crashes and deaths. The audience seemed desensitized to the violence with the exception of a couple of people.

The defendant was sentenced to two days in the Sac. County Jail, and was given additional fines that total to over a thousand dollars.

He was also suspended three years from his work as a law enforcement officer and received informal probation.

An audience member asked the defendant how he felt about having to return to work to face his superiors and co-workers.

“It’s embarrassing to go back to your superiors and coworkers,” Matt said. “The pressure of having the people you look up to now see an inane mistake, but I am grateful that no one got hurt.”

The defendant’s attorney, Denis White, Jr., said that he wants to bring attention to the issue of drunken driving.

“I really want to bring awareness to teens who drink and drive,” said White. He has seen several DUI cases and said it comes down to “making better choices.”