FARMINGTON — An associate director for the Maine Office of Substance Abuse pleaded guilty Tuesday to drunken driving on Sept. 25, 2016, in Avon.

Joan M. Smyrski, 62, of Jefferson entered the plea to the misdemeanor charge of operating under the influence. Her attorney, Walter McKee, was by her side in Franklin County Superior Court.

A deputy from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office investigated a complaint of erratic driving reported at about 7 p.m. Sept. 25 on Rangeley Road in Avon, which resulted in Smyrski’s arrest.

Smyrski had pleaded not guilty to the charge in October.

Judge Charles Dow accepted Smyrski’s plea and a 12-month agreement that allows sentencing to be delayed so Smryski can complete its provisions.

Among the conditions is undergoing a substance abuse evaluation within 60 days, Assistant District Attorney Claire Andrews said. She is also prohibited from possessing or consuming alcohol and is subject to random search and testing.


If Smyrski successfully completes the agreement, she can withdraw her plea to the charge and plead to a misdemeanor charge of driving to endanger, Andrews said.

She would be required to pay a $1,000 fine and receive a 30-day license suspension. She would also have to serve two days in jail or participate in an alternative sentencing program.

If she is not successful, it would be an open plea to the misdemeanor OUI charge that carries a penalty of up to 364 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.

According to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services website, Smyrski remains employed by the state. She has multiple responsibilities at DHHS, including associate director for treatment and recovery in DHHS’ Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services. She is also listed as an assistant director at DHHS’ Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services, where she deals with child care licensing, out-of-home investigations, Maine’s medical marijuana program, behavioral health and substance abuse and workforce development.

McKee confirmed that Smyrski still works for the state.

“I hope it stays that way as she has zero criminal record, has been an exemplary employee at DHHS for over 34 years, and deserves — like everyone — a second chance,” he said.

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