Country Music Star Gets Deal on DUI Charges

JMMDUIDUI defense attorneys for country music star John Michael Montgomery negotiated a plea agreement with prosecutors. His lawyers used what is called an Alford plea under which Montgomery did not admit guilt but accepted that the prosecution probably had enough evidence to secure a conviction on his DUI arrest. A trial had been set for September but Montgomery, 41, indicated that he was concerned about the effect of the publicity on his family.

As part of the plea agreement, charges of having a concealed weapon and possession of a controlled substance were dismissed.

Because it was Montgomery’s first DUI offense, his fines and court costs totaled a little more than $650. He must enroll in an alcohol education program, and his license is suspended until completion of that course.

Momtgomery’s case stems from a DUI arrest in Lexington, Kentucky last February. The Kentucky native performed at the Austin City Saloon, where he played regularly before becoming a star. As he drove to his Jessamine County home south of Lexington, police observed him swerving and running a red light. After being stopped he purportedly failed a field sobriety test.

The police also found two guns and Valium in a bottle labeled Endocot. The prescription for the painkiller Endocot was in someone else’s name.

Montgomery’s Kentucky DUI defense attorneys said the singer just did not have the permits for the gun with him at the time of the arrest, and that the pills were for recovery from a recent hip replacement.

There were several unusual irregularities surrounding the case. The arresting officer was at the same bar that evening, listening to Montgomery, but had made no attempt to question the performer’s sobriety or stop him from driving drunk. There was also concern that Montgomery’s property was not properly handled during booking.

In what eventually led to an internal police investigation regarding improper procedures, fellow police officers posted MySpace comments congratulating the arresting officer for the nabbing of a celebrity. An altered photo of Montgomery was also posted.

Prosecutors said they had sufficient evidence to proceed with a trial on the DUI case and were not concerned about the questions surrounding the arrest. Since Montgomery did not submit to a breath, blood or urine test, the prosecution’s case would have relied heavily on the results of the field sobriety test.

Montgomery, whose hits include "I Love the Way You Love Me," "I Swear" and "Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident)", indicated through his DUI defense attorneys that he was relieved the issue was over.

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