Nevada County Sheriff’s deputy facing misdemeanor DUI charges
A Nevada County Sheriff’s deputy is facing misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence after a traffic stop in Grass Valley.
Nevada County District Attorney Cliff Newell on Thursday filed a criminal complaint against Anne Frances Dunne, charging her with one misdemeanor count of driving under the influence and one misdemeanor count of DUI with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more.
According to the complaint, Dunne’s blood alcohol level registered as 0.09%.
Dunne was stopped by a Grass Valley police officer on patrol Nov. 30 at Allison Ranch Road and Highway 20, according to dispatch logs.
The officer was on a different traffic stop on Crestview Drive at about 12:15 a.m., and saw a vehicle on Highway 49 that crossed the double yellow line after passing his location, said Grass Valley Police Chief Alex Gammelgard.
“The driver was having difficulty staying in their lane, in his opinion,” Gammelgard said.
After the officer finished with the traffic stop, he followed Dunne’s vehicle and observed it “weaving, crossing over the fog line and double yellow line while he was behind it,” Gammelgard said.
The officer initiated a traffic stop and contacted the driver, noting signs of intoxication that included the smell of alcohol, Gammelgard said.
Dunne completed a number of field sobriety tests but refused to take the breath alcohol test — as is her right, Gammelgard noted.
Based on his belief that Dunne was impaired, the officer placed her under arrest for driving under the influence. That triggered a requirement that she submit to a chemical test.
“At that point, she chose a blood test,” Gammelgard said. “A California Highway Patrol officer arrived on scene and assisted in transporting her to the CHP office, where a legal blood draw was taken.”
Dunne then was issued a misdemeanor citation and released to a “responsible party.”
According to Gammelgard, it is not common to issue a citation rather than book the suspect, but it is not completely out of the norm, either. And, he noted, both initiate the same criminal justice process.
There are a number of factors that are looked at, Gammelgard said — public safety, the level of seriousness of the crime, the likelihood of the offense to continue, and the safety of the individual being booked and the jail population as a whole.
“In this case, this individual is an active law enforcement officer,” he said. “The other areas of consideration were considered low threshold. We ensured she was not able to go back and drive. At booking, there could be people there who she has arrested (previously) for violent crimes — or she could be at significant risk by the mere fact she is a law enforcement officer; there could be inmates who may wish to cause her harm.”
Dunne’s status as a deputy also could have caused potential confidentiality issues with fellow coworkers at the jail, Gammelgard said.
“Her intoxication level was not believed to be so drastic that she was unable to care for herself,” he said, noting that while Dunne’s identity did cause a “very awkward” situation, “we hold people accountable regardless of their position.”
The arresting officer “did what I would expect as far as ensuring the accountability of the suspect,” Gammelgard added. “There was no effort to avoid the criminal justice accountability that will come as a result of arrest.”
Dunne likely will be booked into the Nevada County Jail now that a criminal complaint has been filed. Her citation lists a court date of Jan. 3.
Dunne was listed as a current Sheriff’s Office employee as of Dec. 3. Sheriff Shannan Moon could not be reached for comment Thursday evening as to the consequences of the criminal complaint.
In California, a first-time DUI is a misdemeanor unless there is an injury or there is a hit-and-run. If convicted, Dunne faces a fine and could face jail time, although probation is more likely. For a first DUI conviction, there’s generally a six-month license suspension. There is also a four-month administrative suspension imposed by the Department of Motor Vehicles if a driver had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more. First offenders can generally apply for a restricted license for driving to and from places like work and school. That restricted license requires the use of an ignition interlock device.
To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4236.
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