All Muck is Local: Careful What You Blog For

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In the Arizona legislature, one DUI on your record is fine. But two is really pushing things.

State Rep. Trish Groe (R-AZ) is preparing for her arraignment this Monday on one count of aggravated DUI and another of false reporting, entered in a September 18th indictment.

Groe was pulled over last March, after an officer noticed her swerving at 70 mph in a 55 mph zone . At first she denied having been drinking, but then informed the officer that she was a “functional alcoholic.” Two separate tests confirmed her blood-alcohol content was roughly twice the legal limit. Shortly after the arrest, Groe took a leave of absence from her legislative position and checked into a rehabilitation clinic.

But the woes have returned now that her arraignment date approaches. In Arizona, a DUI is generally treated as a misdemeanor and judges usually shorten the 30-day sentence down to 10 days. However, Groe’s case is compounded by the fact that she lied to the officer about having a valid driver’s license. In actuality, her license had been revoked due to an outstanding ticket in California. This bumps her charge up to a felony. In addition, it certainly won’t help her case that Groe had already been arrested for a DUI in 1999 (also in California).

Local Democrats began calling for her resignation immediately after the indictment. Republicans, always sensitive to the judicial process, have insisted that the system do its job before any rash decisions are made. Groe will be required to leave her position only if she is convicted of a felony. Since it is likely that her case will be argued down to a misdemeanor she may be able to keep her public position, but it is unlikely that she will entirely avoid jail time.

Only a month before, Groe wrote on her blog (in response to another representative’s legislation), “How about focusing on enforcement of the current law against reckless driving instead of passing new legislation?” Presumably, come Monday she’ll get her wish.

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