AUGUSTA – Charged with drunken driving on April 16 by Augusta police, Sen. Bruce Bryant, D-Dixfield, chose not to contest it Friday in Kennebec County District Court.

“I will pay my fine, surrender my license and take the driving course conducted by the state,” Bryant said Friday in a press release.

Bryant was fined $400 after pleading guilty to operating under the influence.

His sentence included a 90-day license revocation.

Because Bryant’s blood-alcohol level was 0.11, he was not given any jail time. Incarceration is imposed at levels of 0.15 or higher; the legal limit under Maine law is 0.08 percent.

After leaving Margarita’s Mexican Restaurant just before midnight on April 16, Bryant’s vehicle was seen swerving and nearly striking a curb on Western Avenue in Augusta, according to police Lt. Bill Hayward.

Bryant, 41, was pulled over, given a field sobriety test, then taken into custody and brought to the police station.

There he was given a breathalyzer test, police said.

Bryant told police he had one alcoholic drink at Margarita’s, Hayward added.

“Because of the low alcohol count, my attorney advised me that I would stand a good chance of being acquitted if I exercised my right to a jury trial, but I want to put this behind me,” he stated.

According to the press release, Bryant said the operating under the influence charge grew out of a routine traffic stop as he drove home from a dinner after a late session of the Maine Legislature.

“I was tired, I made a bad judgment and I want to accept full responsibility under the law. It is important to me, as someone who has been elected to help make the law, to do nothing to act as as if I am above it,” Bryant stated.

Bryant is serving his first term as senator. Before elected senator, Bryant served six years in the House.

“If any good can come of this, it is that my children and others will learn from my mistake. I want to express my thanks and appreciation to all my friends and neighbors in western Maine who have given their support to me and my family during this humbling experience. I will attempt to pay back these kindnesses by continuing to work as hard as I can to represent these people fairly and honestly in the Maine Senate,” he added.

Bryant is Senate co-chairman of two legislative committees, Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, and Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. A boiler operator for Mead Paper in Rumford, Bryant is the former president of Local 900 of the United Paperworkers International Union, now PACE.

At the court hearing, District Attorney Evert Fowle told the judge that Bryant’s driving did not result in an accident or injury.

Bryant had no prior criminal record.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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