State Rep. Joseph Brennan was accepted this morning into a first-time offenders program that will allow him to avoid having a criminal record as a result of a June drunk-driving arrest in Bethlehem, according to published reports.
As a condition of his acceptance in the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program, Brennan was ordered to serve 25 hours of community service, to continue his treatment for alcohol abuse, attend Alcohol Highway Safety classes and serve six months of probation.
The Fountain Hill Democrat who represents the 133rd District, which includes South Bethlehem and part of Salisbury Township, has also paid $1,949 in fines, fees and court costs and has had his drivers license suspended for 60 days.
"I regret my actions, obviously," Brennan told The Express-Times. "I'm looking forward to moving on one day at a time."
Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli, a fellow Democrat, told The Morning Call that Brennan’s application for ARD was treated the same as anyone else who is arrested for the first time on suspicion of DUI. The county probation department determines whether the case meets the criteria, the DA said.
"The fact of the matter is that ARD for DUIs is automatic," Morganelli told the newspaper. "As long as you fit the criteria, you get it."
Brennan was arrested on June 22 by Bethlehem police in front of his legislative office on W. Fourth St. after an eyewitness reported that he fell trying to get out of his car in the parking lot of the Wawa convenience store at Broad Street and Stefko Boulevard.
The next day, the state representative issued a contrite statement acknowledging that he has had a “long and personal struggle with alcohol.”
“I take full responsibility for this serious mistake and offer my heartfelt apology to my family and my constituents,” the statement said. “I clearly should not have been driving in that condition. It was a serious error in judgment. I am grateful that nobody was injured as a result of the dangerous decision I made.”