New Brighton Mayor Val Johnson pleaded guilty to one count of third- degree DWI on Tuesday after being pulled over early Sunday morning.
According to charges filed in Ramsey County District Court, Johnson, 60, was pulled over on Ramsey County Road E and Old Highway 8 at 1:55 a.m. Sunday by a New Brighton police officer for expired tabs and speeding.
According to court documents, when the officer approached the mayor’s vehicle, Johnson was slurring her speech and has bloodshot eyes. Johnson was given a preliminary breath test.
She blew .17, which is more than twice the legal limit in Minnesota.
Johnson was booked into the Ramsey County Jail and released from custody late Tuesday afternoon.
Johnson initially faced two DWI charges but one count was dismissed at sentencing. She was sentenced to two years of probation and must participate in a chemical dependency evaluation in addition to a Mothers Against Drunk Driving impact panel.
During the Jan. 22 council meeting, Johnson issued a statement addressing the DWI charge.
“On Saturday night, I was arrested for driving under the influence,” she said. “I had a blood alcohol content of .17. There is no question that I was reckless and made a significant error of judgment that night. I was potentially risking the safety of others and myself. I am ready to accept the consequences of my actions and I am ready to steps to ensure that I never make this mistake again. I would like to apologize to the members of the city council, to our great staff here with the City of New Brighton and the residents of this wonderful community. As mayor, I hold myself to a high level of conduct and I failed to meet that standard on Saturday night. People have a right to be disappointed in my behavior, just as I am, but I hope we can continue to work together and achieve our goals and our hopes for the City of New Brighton.”
Johnson was elected to her second term as mayor in 2017. Following her initial two-year term, Johnson is expected to serve through 2020 because of the city’s switch from odd to even-year municipal elections.