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Youngblood sentenced to day in jail for DWI

Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal

Weeks before she seeks re-election, state Rep. Monica Youngblood was sentenced Wednesday to one day in jail and a year of probation following her conviction on an aggravated drunken driving charge.

 Monica Youngblood stands beside her attorney Paul Kennedy as she addresses reporters after a sentencing hearing Wednesday in Metropolitan Court. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

Monica Youngblood stands beside her attorney Paul Kennedy as she addresses reporters after a sentencing hearing Wednesday in Metropolitan Court. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

Pro tem Judge Kevin Fitzwater found Youngblood, 42, guilty of the petty misdemeanor offense after a bench trial in Metropolitan Court last week.

The Republican lawmaker was arrested in May at a sobriety checkpoint. Although she denied drinking, police said she performed poorly on multiple field sobriety tests and refused to submit to a breath test.

A first-time aggravated drunken driving conviction requires a mandatory 48 hours in jail, but a defendant can face up to 90 days behind bars. Fitzwater gave Youngblood credit for one day in jail based on the time she spent in custody immediately after her arrest.

“Any part of a day counts as a day,” Fitzwater said. “So she has served one day, there is one more day remaining to be served in the Metropolitan Detention Center.”

Youngblood must turn herself in to the jail by Oct. 19, which Fitzwater said would give Youngblood time to file an appeal. Neither she nor her attorney, Paul Kennedy, would say Wednesday whether they plan to do so.

Along with jail time and probation, Youngblood must use an ignition interlock for one year, attend DWI school, complete 24 hours of community service and pay various court costs and fees.

“I am well aware that actions have consequences and that is something that I have talked about all of my time in public service,” Youngblood told the court during the hearing. “And I am ready to accept the consequences of my actions that evening, while I regret them immensely.”

Youngblood, who represents House District 68 in northwest Albuquerque, was first elected in 2012 and has voted in favor of legislation that would toughen penalties for drunken driving.

She is running this year against Democrat Karen Bash, a retired faith leader.

Youngblood also faces accusations by the Attorney General’s Office that she violated the state’s Governmental Conduct Act. An assistant attorney general wrote in a letter that the office believes Youngblood attempted to use her elected position to influence arresting officers that night.

In a response, Kennedy wrote that the letter’s “sanctimonious tone” indicated it was political and did not serve “any true public service purpose.”

Lapel footage shows Youngblood telling the arresting officer that she is a state representative who has fought for law enforcement.

In a statement, a spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office said the judge denied a prosecutor’s request that Youngblood be required to serve “the full 48 hours in jail.”

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