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Former Nascar C.E.O. Enters Plea in Sag Harbor Drunken Driving Case

Fri, 06/07/2019 - 13:41

Brian France, the former chief executive officer of Nascar, took a plea deal Friday on a drunken-driving charge stemming from his August 2018 arrest in Sag Harbor Village. If he meets the terms of the plea agreement, he will not have a criminal record.  

Mr. France, 56, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor driving while intoxicated in Sag Harbor Village Justice Court on Friday, but his sentence is being held in abeyance for a year while he completes certain conditions. Under the terms of the deal, he is required to complete 100 hours of community service and continue to undergo alcohol counseling before June 5, 2020. 

If and when he successfully completes the requirements, he will be able to withdraw his guilty plea, and the charge will be reduced to driving while ability impaired, a traffic violation under the law. If he does not complete the terms of the deal, he will be sentenced to misdemeanor D.W.I. 

"I would like to thank the Sag Harbor Village Justice Court for their careful attention to this matter," Mr. France said in a statement through his attorney, Edward Burke Jr. of Sag Harbor. "I am grateful to the court's consideration of all the facts in this case and I will follow their direction and recommendations as we move forward." 

"While I made a mistake, this event has also given me the opportunity to reflect on my poor judgement that day, my family and my greater responsibilities to our community," he said. "I have learned valuable lessons and will be a better person because of the process." 

Mr. France, who lives in Ormond Beach, Fla., but was renting on the South Fork in 2018, was behind the wheel of a 2017 Lexus sedan when he drove through a stop sign on Main Street on Aug. 5. Police stopped him and saw signs that he had been drinking, they said. His blood alcohol level was .18, more than twice the legal limit. He was initially charged with aggravated D.W.I., a misdemeanor levied when a driver's blood alcohol level is .18 or above.

Police said they found oxycodone pills during a search, and Mr. France was also charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, a misdemeanor. That charge was dropped, as Mr. France had a prescription. 

"This case is a reminder for both residents and anyone visiting Suffolk County this summer that it is all of our responsibility to keep our roads safe," Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini said in a statement. "It is not acceptable for anyone to be driving while drunk or on drugs in our community." 

Mr. France stepped down as the Nascar C.E.O. shortly after his arrest. He had been in the position since 2003. 

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