By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun
7:03 PM EDT, April 30, 2013
Baltimore County Councilman Todd Huff was sentenced Tuesday to two years of supervised probation after pleading guilty to driving under the influence.
Baltimore County Circuit Judge Timothy Martin also gave Huff a one-year suspended jail sentence. He ordered Huff not to drink alcohol during his probation, and to submit to random urine tests as part of the state's Drinking Driver Monitor Program.
He also ordered Huff to complete a 26-week alcohol treatment program that the councilman has already started.
The Lutherville Republican, a first-term councilman, was arrested in February after he was stopped by an officer while driving in his county vehicle on York Road in Towson. Police said a test showed that he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.20 percent, more than twice the state's legal limit of 0.08 percent.
Huff's lawyer had sought a sentence of probation before judgment, but Martin said he did not feel that was appropriate.
Martin said Huff seemed to be "very serious" about getting help for an alcohol problem, but he pointed to Huff's guilty plea in a hit-and-run 18 years ago. That incident led to an injury, and Huff had an alcohol restriction placed on his license.
"That old offense doesn't disappear in my thought process," the judge said.
Martin also cited Huff's behavior the night of the DUI arrest. The councilman called county Police Chief Jim Johnson in the middle of the night after he was taken to the Towson precinct.
Huff told Martin at his last court hearing that he called the chief to apologize for his behavior, not to ask for favors — an explanation that Martin said Tuesday was "not very persuasive."
"I hardly buy that," the judge said.
He also said he believed Huff should be held to a high standard because of his role as a public official.
Huff pleaded guilty to the DUI charge earlier this month. As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped other charges, including a headlight violation and negligent driving. He relinquished his county-issued Jeep Grand Cherokee a few days after the arrest.
Harford County prosecutor Chris Smith, who was assigned to the case, said he was pleased with the judge's sentence and feels it "accomplishes the goal of public safety."
He said the state could now seek to revoke Huff's driver's license because of the number of points the sentence will assess against his license.
Huff's attorney, John Grason Turnbull III, declined to comment. Huff remained at a courtroom table with Turnbull after the brief hearing to fill out his probation paperwork.
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