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8:18 PM Tue, Nov. 13th

Councilman puts DUI fiasco in the rearview mirror with guilty plea

Stuart Yocum

Stuart Yocum

KINGMAN – Councilman Stuart Yocum said he’s glad to be able to put his drunk driving arrest in the rearview mirror after pleading guilty to driving under the influence to the slightest degree, a class one misdemeanor, Friday.

DUI to the slightest means Yocum was not found guilty of driving with a blood-alcohol content of .08 or more, but is still guilty of a DUI since there is no legal limit for BAC in the no-tolerance state of Arizona.

“I’m happy to be able to begin putting it in the past and to be able to move on because it has been an astronomical stressor,” Yocum said. “It’s been a distraction. It’s affected my ability to be completely productive. It’s been a heavy weight and I just didn’t want to see this drag out any further.”

Yocum was arrested in May 2017 for driving under the influence and was found guilty of driving on a suspended license in April. He says many people misunderstand the circumstances of the arrest. He said when he drove that night in May, he believed himself to be within the legal limit.

His jury trial for the DUI charge was also pushed back some eight times, much to his displeasure.

“There was one delay after another,” he said. “If we’d put it in the past eight months ago, it would have been a distraction that would have been moved on from. I’m just very thankful to be to this point to be able to begin moving on and learn from it and see it never repeated. I hope it’s a lesson others can learn from as well.”

Yocum said that lesson is to not drive at all, no matter how much one has had to drink. He’s learned from his mistake and says he won’t repeat it.

“I’m taking responsibility, I’m not hiding from it at all,” Yocum said. “Now that it’s resolved in the eyes of the court, pending meeting the courts orders, I am free to discuss it and no longer have to not do so, which has been the cause for my quietness or relative silence on the matter.”

To the voters who see a DUI conviction as less-than desirable for a councilman, Yocum hopes they don’t see his mistake as a reflection of his judgement.

“Obviously, I am tremendously regretful that this occurred at all,” he said. “It would be my hope that this incident isn’t deemed a reflection of who I am or testament to my judgement.”

The court ordered Yocum to pay a $1,457 fine, attend alcohol counseling and a Mothers Against Drunk Driving victim impact panel. He was also directed to complete 25 hours of community services and will be on unsupervised probation for one month.