A Bellevue bartender has been sentenced to 30 days in jail following conviction of felony DUI.
Sentence for Joseph Anthony Wilson, 45, a longtime employee at Mahoney’s Bar & Grill, was pronounced Monday by Judge Robert Elgee in Blaine County 5th District Court. The judge also gave Wilson a five-year suspended prison sentence, fined him $2,000, placed him on probation for three years, ordered that his driver’s license be suspended for one year and ordered that he complete an alcohol rehabilitation program and continue attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
Elgee further ordered that Wilson can begin serving his jail sentence on Dec. 17. He also ordered that work release be allowed, though it was not clear Monday whether terms of probation would allow Wilson to continue working as a bartender.
Wilson, who was represented by Hailey attorney Keith Roark under the Roark Law Firm’s public defender contract with Blaine County, has remained free on $10,000 bond following his arrest by the Bellevue Marshal’s Office in March.
Wilson pleaded guilty to the crime in October. According to court records, he was charged with felony DUI because of prior misdemeanor DUI convictions in Twin Falls County in 2005 and in Blaine County in 2010. Idaho law requires that a person convicted of two misdemeanor DUI offenses within a 10-year period be charged with a felony upon a third arrest.
A probable-cause affidavit filed by Bellevue Deputy Rene Rodriguez states that Wilson was charged with the felony crime after a traffic stop near the corner of Fifth and Cedar streets in Bellevue on the evening of March 8. Rodriguez wrote that he pulled the vehicle over because of expired registration.
Rodriguez wrote that he detected the smell of alcohol on Wilson and that Wilson failed field sobriety tests.
At sentencing Monday, Blaine County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matt Fredback said Wilson had a blood-alcohol level of .145, nearly double the Idaho legal driving limit of .08.
Fredback noted that Wilson has several other previous alcohol-related offenses, including sales of alcohol to minors.
“I don’t think Mr. Wilson is a bad guy, but substance abuse has been an issue in his life for a long time,” Fredback said.
Roark asked that Wilson be allowed to continue working as a bartender regardless of the conviction.
Typically, probation terms for alcohol-related offenses require that a convicted person not drink or enter an establishment where alcohol is served.
Roark noted that Wilson is a “very dependable employee,” is undergoing alcohol treatment and will become unemployed if not allowed to continue work as a bartender.
“The real problem is his proclivity to drive after he’s been drinking,” Roark said.
Wilson apologized for his actions, and told the judge that he is trying to change his life.
“You’re at the felony level now,” Elgee said. “It’s more important that you take your remarks to heart than I do.”
Regarding allowing Wilson to be able to work as a bartender, Elgee said he will leave that decision up to Wilson’s probation officer.
Terry Smith: firstname.lastname@example.org