Future Archbishop of San Francisco Arrested for Drunk Driving

When someone in Minnesota is charged with a drunk driving, it is not necessary to simply throw in the towel and say “I’m sorry.” Though taking responsibility for one’s actions is admirable, apologizing implies that one has done something wrong. In fact, in may not be in one’s best interest to make any statement at all after being charged with DUI until one speaks with an experienced DUI defense attorney.

This is perhaps the advice that Northern California bishop should have received after he spent the night in jail after a DUI arrest in San Diego. He had been out to dinner with his elderly mother and was driving her home when the two came upon a sobriety checkpoint.

According to the officers at the checkpoint, the man appeared to be intoxicated. They administered a breath test which allegedly revealed a blood-alcohol-content (BAC) that was over the legal limit.

The bishop was arrested and spent the night in jail. He was released after posting $2,500 bail.

Another complicating factor in this story is that the bishop has been named by the Vatican as the next archbishop of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Generally, drunk driving charges are known to place one’s reputation and even job in jeopardy. In this case, however, sources say there is no reason why the DUI should derail his promotion to archbishop, even if he should be convicted.

Over the past few decades, a number of other high-ranking church officials have been arrested for DUI and other offenses. Minnesotans may remember that John Roach, archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, pled guilty to a drunk driving charge in 1985.

After his arrest, the future archbishop issued a contrite statement apologizing for his actions and acknowledging that the BAC test did show his blood alcohol content as being over the legal limit. Since breath testing devices require proper calibration and training, and since he was tested at a high-volume sobriety checkpoint, however, he may still have a legitimate basis for challenging the misdemeanor charge should he choose to do so.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, “DUI charge for future SF archbishop,” Kevin Fagan, Aug. 27, 2012

He has won jury trial cases in misdemeanor and felony cases and in DWI’s and non-DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. He is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Involve a criminal appeal attorney soon after you learn the prosecution is appealing your sentence. Your attorney will walk you through the involving and confusing sentencing guidelines. An attorney's involvement will also help you develop a defense strategy for the appeal.