ALABASTER, Ala. (WIAT) — Senator Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, now knows the repercussions of his July DUI arrest in Alabaster. Wednesday morning, Ward admitted guilt and entered a pre-trial diversion program, according to the city prosecutor.
The charge stems from a July 1, 2015 traffic stop in Alabaster. Alabaster Police Chief Curtis Rigney stated that police received a report concerning a possible drunk driver on Highway 119 at 12:46 pm that day. An Alabaster police officer spotted the vehicle and pulled it over on Thompson Road near Warrior Park. There, Rigney says Ward failed a series of sobriety tests and was placed under arrest for suspicion of DUI.
On Wednesday Ward and his attorney appeared in Alabaster Municipal Court.
When they walked out, Ward told reporters he was facing a range of penalties for a charge he does not dispute.
“It was a $2400 fine, defensive driving course, 6 month diversion program which is random testing, random alcohol and drug testing, also ignition interlock in the car as well as a certain number… 48 hours of community service, and there was something else in there. It was basically their standard pre-trial program for first time offenders that they gave me and that’s fine,” said Ward. “I absolutely, like I said I’m more than willing to take responsibility and accept punishment and move forward and like I said I received the same punishment, pretty much the same punishment as everybody who goes through that program,” said Ward.
People we spoke with around the Alabaster Municipal Complex had mixed reactions to the case.
“If you take the title away state lawmaker or senator he’s an ordinary person like us. And we do have faults as human beings we do slip we do have recurrences and we recover from it. And I think he’s taken full responsibility for what he’s done,” said Bobby Hirt.
“I think there’s always a double standard yes. I know if you have enough money you can buy yourself out of a DUI. I’ve seen that happen many a time,” said Ernest Jacks.
Ward told WIAT 42 News he did not receive special treatment.
“No and I think if you ask the prosecutor and judge they’ll tell you real clearly that’s not the case,” said Ward.
“Nobody likes to be in this position, but it 110% was my fault to put myself in this spot and to put others in danger. I regret it greatly. I am looking forward to moving on with a healthier chapter in my life which I, I think I’m well on the road to,” said Ward.
When a reporter asked if he pleaded guilty Ward said “yes, absolutely”, but Alabaster City Prosecutor Jeff Brumlow tells WIAT 42 News that although Ward admitted guilt- it’s not quite the same thing as entering a plea in a typical trial.
According to Brumlow, in this case Ward’s admission of guilt is not an automatic conviction, but the first step required to enter a pre-trial diversion program.
While the penalties Ward listed are standard for a first offense, misdemeanor DUI, the diversion program will actually involve nine months of drug and alcohol screening because of Ward’s blood alcohol level at the time of his arrest, according to Brumlow.
The city prosecutor adds that if the state senator fails to complete the program under the terms of the pre-trial diversion, he will automatically be found guilty of DUI.
State Senator Ward is optimistic about the future and again reaffirmed that he plans to remain in office. Ward told reporters he was heading straight to Montgomery from Alabaster Municipal Court to attend a committee meeting. The Second Special Session of the Alabama Legislature was scheduled to start at 5 p.m.
“I’m here to continue representing the people of Senate District 14. Like I said not something I’m very proud of at all, but I think moving ahead I can, hopefully I can learn from my mistakes and be a better legislator and better person and father as a result of it,” said State Senator Cam Ward.
Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News