State Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos, D-Seattle, pleaded guilty Thursday morning to a charge of negligent driving stemming from a DUI arrest last summer.
The arrest, first reported Thursday by Seattlecrime.com, took place July 20 on I-5 in South Seattle. A state Patrol trooper said he observed Santos’ car slowly drifting in and out of her lane.
After being pulled over, Santos failed field sobriety tests but only blew a .077 in a portable breath alcohol test – below the legal limit of .08. The arresting officer said he believed Santos wasn’t trying to blow hard enough into the device.
Court records show Santos was charged on Aug. 31 with driving under the influence.
On Thursday, Santos pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of negligent driving in the first degree as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.
Santos will be required to do 20 hours of community service and pay fines of about $1,500 as part of the deal.
Her attorney, William Kirk, confirmed the details of her arrest and the plea deal, calling the terms standard for a first-time offender. Kirk disputed the state troopers’ account that Tomiko Santos was trying to blow softly to fool the alcohol breath test.
“Even though Miss Santos blew under the legal limit, she was still arrested,” Kirk said. “I’m not throwing stones here. I think the public needs to be aware that law enforcement is very sensitive to drinking and driving.”
Kirk said Santos cooperated fully with the State Patrol and did not try to use her position as an elected official to get special treatment.
Calls to Santos’ office and home were not immediately returned Thursday.