Cecil County Exec McCarthy Gets Probation on DWI Charge

March 8, 2018

Cecil County Executive Alan McCarthy pleaded guilty Thursday (3/8/2018) to one count of driving while impaired by alcohol and received probation before judgment. If he successfully completes the one-year period of unsupervised probation, his record can be expunged.

A trial in Cecil County Circuit Court was initially expected to be postponed due to schedule conflicts for the presiding judge and prosecutor but those issues were resolved at the last-minute Thursday morning and the case proceeded before visiting Judge Paul Bowman, of Kent County. Due to McCarthy’s position as a Cecil County elected official, the case was handled by out-of-county officials, including prosecutor Lance Richardson, of the Queen Anne’s County State’s Attorney office.

Richardson and McCarthy’s lawyer, H. Norman Wilson of Elkton, had reached agreement on a plea deal, under which a more serious charge of driving under the influence of alcohol was dropped. Four traffic offenses were also dropped under the arrangement, including failure to obey a traffic control device; reckless driving; negligent driving; and failure to drive on the right half of a roadway.

The case stemmed from a traffic stop by a Maryland state trooper on 10/27/2017 at about 11 p.m., when the trooper said he spotted a car driven by McCarthy cross the center line on Route 213, south of Elkton, and apparently weaving within the southbound lane of the highway. McCarthy, who lives in Chesapeake City, was arrested and taken to the North East barracks of the State Police. He was given traffic citations and released to a sober driver at the time.

McCarthy had previously told Cecil Times that on the date in question he had had a very long day of early morning until nighttime official meetings and events and was exhausted as he was driving home. He also said he was taking an arthritis medication that can affect physical co-ordination and reflexes.

On Thursday, McCarthy told Cecil Times that he “accepts full responsibility” and deeply regrets the incident. He said he has completed an alcohol counseling program. He also pointed out to the judge that he had an unblemished driving record for over 50 years.

It is common practice in Maryland courts for a first-offender with a clean driving record to be granted probation before judgment in such cases. McCarthy said he will pay $145 in fines plus court costs.

McCarthy has already paid political costs stemming from the case. The local Campaign for Liberty anti-tax group that opposes McCarthy on policy grounds has been posting multiple photo-shopped images and sarcastic verbal attacks on social media since the charges were filed. The campaign treasurer of a former political opponent has also made unsubstantiated claims and jokes at McCarthy’s expense on social media.

[UPDATE: The spouse of the political candidate who lost overwhelmingly to McCarthy in the last election attacked McCarthy on Facebook several hours after the court case was resolved, without disclosing her personal conflict of interest. ]

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