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Michigan priest suspended, accused of drinking and driving

A Michigan priest was recently arrested for drinking and driving. The priest was alone in his vehicle when police arrested him for disorderly conduct and operating a vehicle while intoxicated. It is also alleged that the priest was not wearing clothing at the time of his arrest.

The drinking and driving charge against the priest led local church officials to suspend him from duties at his parish. He was placed on administrative leave, and another priest is holding mass and overseeing church operations during the suspension. The priest suspected of driving under the influence, who is 57 years old, is charged with drunk driving and disorderly or obscene conduct in connection with the incident.

Drinking and driving carries serious consequences for those who engage in driving while impaired and for their victims. For defendants convicted of drunk driving crimes, Michigan law imposes heavy fines, jail time and driver's license suspension. Drinking and driving will remain on a person's driving record and can impact future car insurance rates, and in some cases, rehabilitation or community service may be ordered by a judge.

Disorderly conduct generally describes a situation in which a person is disturbing the peace, or engaging in unruly conduct, but where no danger is posed to others. These charges often go hand in hand with drinking and driving related incidents, depending on the circumstances alleged at the time of arrest.

Besides the impact of drunk driving on a person's criminal record, charges in these matters can also affect people's jobs and personal and professional reputation, which is likely quite important in the priest's line of work. Those convicted can lose out on potential employment, or become the subject public scrutiny as a result of the allegations. Despite the charges against the priest and the seriousness of this matter, it is important to remember that defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty no matter the charges leveled against them.

Source: The Kalamazoo Gazette, "Detroit pastor suspended in wake of drunk-driving-while-nude accusation," Aug. 7, 2012

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