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Authorities to file charges against impaired bus driver

After a Denver bus driver was taken into custody for allegedly ignoring a stop sign on Sept. 1 and driving while impaired, officials announced that they intend to file charges in the case. Although a misdemeanor charge was originally filed, prosecutors withdrew that charge with the intention of filing a felony charge. The driver is no longer working until the investigation is completed.

A passenger on the bus called the bus company and complained about the driver's alleged recklessness. When Adams County deputies arrived at the bus's location, they said that the driver emitted an odor of alcohol and his eyes were bloodshot. Investigators reported that the driver had a blood alcohol content level of .211 percent at the time of the traffic stop, more than double the limit of .08 percent allowed by law. He had reportedly consumed a half-gallon of vodka the night before the incident.

A representative with First Transit reported that the company did a background check of the driver that dated back 15 years. However, further investigation revealed DUI charges from 1989 and 1992 as well as another traffic charge and a criminal mischief offense. Authorities reported that the man had at least two criminal convictions were alcohol-related. At the time of the incident, the driver had been working for the company since July.

If someone faces criminal charges for an excessive BAC level and has prior convictions, the prosecution might attempt to seek enhanced penalties. A criminal defense attorney might work with the prosecution to negotiate a plea agreement, especially if any prior offenses happened beyond the state's look-back period for which prior DUI convictions apply.

Source: The Denver Channel, 'RTD driver Darren Pettee accused of driving bus while drunk," Marc Stewart and Bill Tenser, Sept. 2, 2014

Source: The Denver Channel, "Denver bus driver suspected of DUI to face felony charge of endangering public transportation", September 05, 2014

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