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Baltimore County Councilman pleads Guilty to DUI

Baltimore County Councilman Todd Huff has plead guilty to driving under the influence, stating that he has learned from his mistake and that he is now undergoing treatment for alcohol abuse. Prosecutors dropped charges of negligent driving and headlight violation after Huff agreed to a plea deal. Baltimore County Circuit Judge Timothy Martin is presiding over the case. Huff, 44, told the judge that public scrutiny has made the whole ordeal very difficult for him. Judge Martin stated that he would consider whether to hold Huff to a higher standard because of his office. The judge noted Huff’s outstanding work history, but was troubled by his blood alcohol content the evening of his arrest and comments he made to police officers.

Officers found the first-term councilman in his county-issued Jeep Grand Cherokee around 2:30 a.m. on February, 23, 2013. Police spotted Huff driving without headlights in Towson. Officers pulled huff into Brooks-Huff Tire & Auto Center, his family business. Huff asked the officers if they knew who he was and chastised them for pulling him over on his own property. He was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving and subjected to a blood alcohol test. His BAC registered at .2 percent, well above the state’s legal limit of .08 percent. Huff called county police Chief Jim Johnson from the Townson prescient. Huff alleges that he called to apologize for his behavior, not to ask for any sort of favor. His attoryney noted that Huff called after he had already been arrested, disclaiming any notion of impropriety in the call. Huff, who was elected in 2010, has relinquished the county-issued SUV.

Huff’s attorney is seeking probation before judgment, a fairly light punishment. Huff’s lawyer told the Judge that there are no prior DUIs on his record and that he has a lot to offer society. Chris Smith, the Harford County state’s attorney prosecuting the case, argued that probation before judgment would be too lenient under the circumstances. He asked Judge Martin for a sentence that could lead to revocation Huff’s license. He cited a hit and run arrest on Huff’s record from 18 years ago. That arrest put Huff in jail for four days and placed an alcohol restriction on his license. Huff will already lose his commercial driver’s license as a result of the case. His attorney told Judge Martin that the loss of his Maryland license would charm his public life and private employment.

The Baltimore County State’s Attorney asked for outside counsel to dispel and appearance of conflict. The county council approves the budget for that office.

Huff presented numerous character witnesses. Towson Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nancy Hafford testified that Huff is an exemplary volunteer, helping with neighborhood cleanups and the Townson Spring Festival. According to Hafford, Huff works hundreds of hours a year for the community. Alexandra Paradise, a former campaign worker who was appointed to the county’s Human Relations Commission by Huff, also testified. She said that she was struck by his eagerness to get into politics to help people. The therapist treating Huff testified on his behalf as well. He told the judge that Huff comes early sessions that he has been eager to work through his alcohol related problems.

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