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Rep. Youngblood faces 48 hours in jail if convicted of DWI


Monica Youngblood

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — State Rep. Monica Youngblood will face a mandatory 48 hours in jail if she's convicted of an aggravated drunken driving charge – the result of her arrest at a DWI checkpoint early Sunday.

And prosecutors say they're moving forward with the case.

Youngblood, a Republican from the West Side, is scheduled to appear in court for an arraignment June 13 to respond to the charge.

She told a police officer Sunday that she hadn't been drinking. But, police said, she refused a mandatory breath test and was charged with aggravated DWI.

An officer said he smelled alcohol, Youngblood's eyes were bloodshot and watery, her speech was slurred, and she performed poorly on field sobriety tests, according to a complaint filed in Metropolitan Court.

Dolly Otero of the state chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving said she was disappointed to hear about Youngblood's arrest.

“She was one of those persons we really believed in,” Otero said. “We're just so sorry that she made the wrong choice.”

Youngblood has been an ally of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, carrying legislation to reinstate the death penalty in New Mexico and toughen criminal penalties.

In 2015, she co-sponsored legislation that would have required people charged with aggravated DWI – as she was on Sunday – to post bail or stay in jail until appearing before a judge.

In 2016, Youngblood won approval for a bill that created the regulatory framework for ride-booking companies Uber and Lyft, a move that she said would help people arrange safe rides home.

Her arrest comes as Republicans try to reclaim a majority in the state House, where Democrats have held a 38-32 edge the past two years.

Youngblood, a real estate agent, has a significant financial advantage over her Democratic opponent, Karen Bash, according to campaign reports filed last week.

Youngblood has about $30,000 in her campaign account. Bash, a retired faith leader, has about $6,000.

Neither faces an opponent in next month's primary.

House District 68 covers a patch of Northwest Albuquerque.

If Youngblood decided to withdraw from the race after the primary, the Bernalillo County central committee of the Republican Party would appoint a replacement candidate for the general election.

Youngblood didn't return messages Monday. But she said in a written statement over the weekend that she regretted the “situation altogether,” especially not taking the breath test.

Ryan Cangiolosi, chairman of the state Republican Party, said the party “believes in our DWI laws and that those laws are necessary to keep us all safe. Driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is never acceptable for anyone.”

In addition to the mandatory 48 hours in jail, those convicted of first-time aggravated DWI face up to 90 days in jail, along with possible fines and other penalties.