- Associated Press - Monday, November 19, 2018

MERIDIAN, Miss. (AP) - The second-ranking member of Mississippi’s House of Representatives pleaded no contest to drunk-driving charges Monday but won’t be convicted under a diversion program for first-time offenders.

The Meridian Star reports Municipal Judge Robbie Jones agreed to place state Rep. Greg Snowden in a nonadjudication program. Snowden, a Republican, is House speaker pro tem.

Offered to first-time DUI defenders including Snowden, the status means his driver’s license is suspended for 120 days, but he can drive using an interlock device which measures alcohol on starting a vehicle.

Snowden was arrested in September after refusing to take a DUI test after rear-ending another vehicle at a traffic signal. Snowden claimed at the time he wasn’t drunk and hit the car because he was texting and looking at his phone about the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination hearings in Washington.

Police Chief Benny Dubose said his officers responded to a call of an individual driving erratically and running people off the road. When they arrived on scene, he said officers smelled alcohol and Snowden failed a field sobriety test. No one was injured.

The 64-year-old said he has bad knees and was unable to walk properly for the field sobriety test.

Monday, Snowden didn’t admit he had been drunk, but said he had learned some “hard lessons.”

“I was raised to understand that when you make mistakes, when you mess up, that you deal with it and you work to do better,” he said. “The mistakes I’ve made, I’m never ever going to repeat, and I can promise.”

Snowden must pay $980 in fines and complete a safety education program and a victim impact panel course. A 2-day jail sentence was suspended.

The judge agreed to let Snowden complete parts of his sentence in Jackson during the upcoming legislation session. All fines and obligations must be completed by March 28.

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Information from: The Meridian Star, http://www.meridianstar.com


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