BOISE -- An Idaho senator pleaded guilty to misdemeanor driving under the influence as part of a plea deal in Ada County court today.
Senate Republican Caucus Chairman John McGee was initially charged with operating a vehicle without owner's consent and driving under the influence. As part of the plea agreement, McGee pleaded guilty to DUI and the felony charge was dropped.
On June 19, police say they found McGee sleeping in a 2004 Ford Excursion he had taken from a Boise home. He was arrested after failing a breathalyzer test. The senator had a .15 blood alcohol content, which is almost twice the legal driving limit.
McGee's defense attorney said the senator was celebrating with friends after a day of golf when he fell. He injured his knee, hip, and suffered a concussion, which impaired his judgment.
During McGee's arraignment on June 20, his lawyer claimed medical conditions are the reason for the senator's behavior.
"Senator McGee did not intend to drive drunk, and he did not intend to steal anybody's car. I think there are medical explanations for what occurred that night. This is a specific intent crime that he's charged with, and I think the medical explanations that may very well exist in this case, would negate any criminal liability on the part of Senator McGee," said Scott McKay, McGee's lawyer.
McGee is ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, with $250 of that suspended. His driver's license will be suspended for 180 days, but he can apply for restricted privileges after 30 days.
The senator paid restitution on the damages of the truck and has written a letter of apology.