- Associated Press - Thursday, October 9, 2014

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A southeast Missouri lawmaker said he pleaded guilty Thursday to two drunken driving charges and was sentenced to probation for incidents that he acknowledged showed “bad judgment.”

Democratic state Rep. Steve Hodges, of East Prairie, faced two charges of driving while intoxicated after being picked up by a Jefferson City police officer in February and by a Cole County sheriff’s deputy in April - both while in central Missouri for the legislative session.

Hodges said he pleaded guilty to both charges in Cole County Circuit Court. He said his driver’s license was suspended and he was sentenced to two years of non-supervised probation, including a requirement that he attend a program for substance abuse traffic offenders.

“I offered no excuses,” Hodges told The Associated Press. “I made a mistake, and it was bad judgment on my part. It’s not going to happen again.”

He said he had completed a voluntary 30-day substance abuse treatment program earlier this year and hoped to be involved in a counseling program in his hometown.

Hodges, 65, is a former grocery store owner and high school sports referee who spent a dozen years on a local school board before he first won election to the Missouri House in 2006. He is barred by term limits from seeking re-election this year. Hodges said he was cleaning out his Capitol office Thursday but does not plan to resign before his term ends in January.

He ran unsuccessfully last year against Republican state Rep. Jason Smith in a special election for a vacant U.S. House seat.

In February, Hodges said he had been drinking alcohol earlier in the evening and had stopped his vehicle in a parking lot after a late-night drive for food. He said he slipped on ice when he got out and was subsequently picked up by police. He said at the time that he planned to “take the steps to prevent any similar error of judgment in the future.”

But two months later, Hodges was taken into custody by a sheriff’s deputy responding to a call about a man sleeping in a vehicle near a church. A breath test showed Hodges had a .17 blood alcohol level, more than twice the .08 legal limit for driving, according to a probable cause statement from the county prosecutor.

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