Legislator’s DWAI charge dropped

A driving-while-ability-impaired charge against Franklin County Legislator Guy “Tim” Smith was dropped Tuesday.

The Fort Covington Democrat did plead guilty to failure to obey a traffic device, a reduction of the original charge of driving left of the pavement marker. He paid a $150 fine and a $92 court surcharge for that.

Smith’s attorney, Kevin Nichols, said Smith’s charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence.

“I’m trying to figure out why they charged him,” Nichols said. “The law does not recognize a .055 percent blood alcohol content.”

Smith was pulled over by county sheriff’s Deputy Luke Cromp at approximately 6 p.m. Aug. 15 near Malone. Cromp said he was returning from doing routine sex offender checks when he saw Smith driving erratically and pulled him over. He called in state police, who assisted him with the arrest.

Smith’s blood alcohol content was allegedly 0.055 percent according to a roadside breathalyzer test. Another test at the station reportedly returned a BAC of .05 percent. In New York state, a DWAI charge is more than 0.05 and up to 0.07 percent BAC.

Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie, acting as special prosecutor in the case, offered the plea agreement to Smith’s attorney.

“This had nothing to do with politics,” Wylie said. “It was based on the law and based on observations made by the arresting deputy.”

Wylie wouldn’t go into detail regarding the arresting deputy’s observations and how they applied to the dropped charge.