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Montana state senator pleads not guilty to DUI and obstructing an officer

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July 31, 2013


By Tyler King

HELENA, Montana: Montana State Senator Shannon Augare appeared in federal court on July 16 to face charges of obstructing a peace officer, driving under the influence of alcohol and reckless driving. Augare pleaded not guilty to the charges, which could give him up to six months in prison, a $250,000 fine and five years of supervised release if convicted. Several legislators have pressured Augare to step down from his legislative duties while the case is pending or even resign as senator. Minority Leader Jon Sesso (D) says that until this case is resolved, Augare is being asked to temporarily stand down.[1]

On May 26, 2013, Augare was pulled over by a Glacier County sheriff's deputy. He allegedly ignored the deputy's request to turn off the vehicle, claiming a lack of jurisdiction, and sped away when the deputy moved to take his keys. In June 2013, after Blackfoot tribal prosecutors deferred, Augare was issued a summons to appear in federal court. On July 17, 2013, Augare pleaded not guilty to a single count each of driving under the influence, obstructing an officer of the peace, and reckless driving. The case was soon cited as an example of a confusing relationship between state, federal, and tribal authorities, with Augare's attorney pledging to have the case taken out of federal court.[2][3][4]

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