Mayor takes plea deal, pleads guilty to impaired driving
Traverse City Mayor Michael Estes accepted the judge's plea deal in court Monday.
Estes pleaded guilty to impaired driving in the October 23 arrest. He was originally charged with operating while intoxicated.
Judge Michael Stepka had to disclose past interactions with the mayor and claimed no bias in the case. The prosecutor agreed.
"He was treated no better and no worse," said Grand Traverse County Prosecutor, Bob Cooney. "Our standard plea offer is if it's first offense, if there's no accident or injury, if the blood alcohol concentration is .13 or below, we offer impaired driving. And we've done the same thing as long as I've been in the office which is over 20 years."
Judge Stepka is seeking more information about the details of the night of the arrest as well as more information on an incident 17 years ago when Estes was charged with reckless driving that resulted in an accident.
As a part of the plea deal, the Judge said the case will go to the Secretary of State where they will "likely take adverse action on his driving privileges." The judge said the action could be something like a suspension on his driver's license.
Cooney says that Estes could face up to 93 days in jail, which is the same for drunk driving charges. He is also facing up to 360 days of community service, one year of probation, fines, and up to four points on his license.
Estes will be subject to more substance abuse assessments.
Under bond conditions, Estes is not allowed to use or possess alcohol, he must be respectful to all of the court staff, and he must do personal breath tests at his home every morning.
Cooney says that home testing is something that everyone is offered, but that not everyone can afford it.
He will be sentenced on December 30th at 9am.
Mayor Estes offered no comment on the matter.