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Published July 02, 2013, 08:57 AM

North Dakota Senator Joe Miller faces alcohol charges

Grafton, ND - North Dakota state Sen. Joe Miller, facing alcohol-related driving charges, called the incident last week “foolish” in light of a past alcohol offense.

By: Jennifer Johnson, Grand Forks Herald, Forum News Service

Grafton, ND - North Dakota state Sen. Joe Miller, facing alcohol-related driving charges, called the incident last week “foolish” in light of a past alcohol offense.

Miller, 30, was charged last Tuesday in state district court in Grafton, N.D., with speeding, having an open container and being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while over the legal alcohol limit, according to court records.

He said he always tries to be careful about drinking before getting behind the wheel.

“I just didn’t think,” he said. “It was a foolish thing to do. What do you say when you do something like this? It’s my own dang fault.”

Uncertain future

Miller said he was not certain what his future held because of the incident, which happened after he left a banquet about 50 miles away from Park River close to midnight.

Once he was on the road heading toward town, he accelerated to 68 in a 55-mph zone and “wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing,” he said.

An officer pulled him over for speeding and found “a couple” of beer cans sitting in the car, he said. Although he hasn’t received the blood test results back yet, he said he thought his blood alcohol content level was .12.

“I knew I probably shouldn’t have been driving, but … I just thought I could just drive sensibly and get home,” he said.

In light of these charges, he said he still stood by his vote for Senate bill 2240 in the recent legislative session and that tougher penalties for drunk driving are not “out of line,” he said.

Stricter penalties for drunk driving went into effect Monday in North Dakota.

“I have to live with the consequences of what I did, too, and that’s just a simple fact,” he said.

Since 2007, Miller has also received a misdemeanor for reckless driving and two speeding violations, one for driving 70 mph in a 55-mph zone. He was also charged with having an open container in 2007.

He said that he wouldn’t drink and drive in the future, but, he added, “I’ve said it before and I did it again.”

Miller is scheduled to make his initial appearance for the actual physical control charge July 22. He’s not making any announcements regarding his Senate seat because he’d like some time to think, he said.

He said he can’t take back his actions and that he chose to get in the car after drinking.

“I feel terrible putting my supporters and the people in my district in such a predicament,” he said. “It’s foolish, and I feel bad about the whole thing, but that doesn’t change anything.”

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