Queensbury Councilman Timothy Brewer pleaded guilty Tuesday to a reduced, non-criminal charge of driving while ability impaired in connection with an arrest for driving under the influence of drugs last year.
Brewer admitted he was impaired during an incident last April in which two drivers saw him driving erratically on Upper Sherman Avenue and boxed his Honda sport-utility vehicle in, forcing him to stop for police to respond.
He was originally charged with a misdemeanor count of DWAI-drugs, but was allowed to plead guilty to a lesser charge by the special prosecutor assigned to the case, the Washington County District Attorney's Office.
Brewer was sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge, fined $400 and ordered to pay a $255 state surcharge.
His driver’s license was suspended for 90 days, and it was the details of that suspension that had been the sticking point of the case for the last few months.
Washington County Assistant District Attorney Michael Stern, who prosecuted the case, said Brewer sought to have suspension conditions that allowed him to drive to and from work and Queensbury Town Board meetings, as well as drive to deliver auto parts for his employer, the NAPA store on Quaker Road in Queensbury.
Stern said his office did not believe Brewer should be able to drive for work.
Brewer was under the influence of prescription medications for serious back injuries, and has said he had some sort of drug reaction.
A blood test found only prescribed drugs and no alcohol in his system. Among the drugs was a painkiller that delivered doses via a computer-controlled intravenous pump.
Stern said Brewer indicated that the medication issues that caused his problems that night have been rectified.
“He claims he has addressed all of the issues with his pain pump,” Stern said.
The guilty plea will not affect Brewer’s ability to hold public office or run for re-election.
Neither Brewer nor his lawyer, Jeff Matte, returned phone calls for comment Wednesday. Washington County District Attorney Kevin Kortright also did not return a phone call for comment.
The case was scheduled for trial before Glens Falls Judge Richard Tarantino on Friday, but Brewer opted instead to plead guilty and avoid the possibility of a tougher sentence. DWAI-drugs is punishable by up to a year in Warren County Jail.
The conditional discharge will require him to avoid a re-arrest or risk the possibility of re-sentencing.
The arrest was his second for DWAI-drugs in a little over two years, stemming from prescription medications. The first arrest, in January 2010, came after he drove into a log truck.