Nevada County sheriff’s deputy pleads to lesser charge, DUI charges dismissed
A Nevada County sheriff’s deputy pleaded no contest this week to “wet reckless driving” in Nevada County Superior Court, avoiding a possible conviction on more serious misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence and DUI with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more.
Anne Frances Dunne, 28, received two years’ probation, and must complete a DUI program and a victim impact panel, court records state.
“I want to make it clear I am taking full ownership for my actions,” Dunne said Monday in a statement she read to the court.
Dunne believed she was “in control and able to safely operate a vehicle,” and said it was “horrifying” to discover she had a 0.09% blood alcohol level and was over the legal limit.
Dunne had been pulled over Nov. 30, 2019, by Grass Valley Police Officer Paul McCallum. In a hearing conducted in February, McCallum testified he was on Highway 49 at 12:18 a.m. when he saw a Toyota cross over the double yellow lines on the highway. As he followed the car, he said, he saw it driving erratically. After he stopped the car, McCallum said, he recognized Dunne “immediately” from having worked with her.
Dunne’s eyes were red and watery and she smelled of alcohol, McCallum testified. Because Dunne was a fellow law enforcement officer, he began trying to contact someone up the chain of command. Eventually it was determined Grass Valley had no conflict of interest and McCallum began field sobriety tests, subsequently arresting Dunne.
The 45-minute delay in Dunne’s arrest was of concern, but did not constitute a violation of her constitutional rights, Superior Court Judge Arvid Johnson ruled in February. Dunne’s defense attorney, Stephen Munkelt, continued to decry her lengthy detention after her sentencing, however, saying in an email, “As her attorney I regret that the court did not take responsibility for protecting her constitutional rights, which were clearly violated.”
Nevada County Assistant District Attorney Chris Walsh said the plea offer made by his office was based on Dunne’s level of intoxication and the fact this was her first DUI offense.
“It’s the exact same plea we would offer everyone with a first-time DUI and a low blood alcohol level,” he said. “This is considered a DUI prior, which is pretty significant. We did insist on that. …. She made a mistake and she took responsibility, and that’s what we wanted.”
In her statement to the court, Dunne apologized to the District Attorney’s Office, as well as the Grass Valley Police Department and her other fellow officers.
“It breaks my heart that I placed you all in this position,” she said, citing the lessons learned through a “humbling” process. “I love and respect you all and I commend you for your ethics and courage to do the right thing in the face of adversity. Even when it means arresting your friend.”
To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4236.
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