Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett accepted a plea deal for the DUI he was charged with after attending the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Coffee County in June.
Following the Thursday court appearance, Hargett issued a statement to reporters:
Today I offered a best interest plea to the charge of DUI. My counsel believes I had a strong case to argue before the court, and I have been surprised by some events and actions during this experience. However, my desire is to accept responsibility for my actions and move forward and to focus on how God can use me to make something positive from this difficult time.
The last few months have been humbling and at times very dark for me. I am deeply grateful to my wife and family for their support. Additionally, I have been overwhelmed by the kindness, grace, and forgiveness offered to me by so many people. Your consideration and courtesy will always be remembered.
Secretary Hargett appeared in a Coffee County court and submitted a plea of “best interest” – also called an Alford plea – for a first-time offense of driving under the influence, multiple news outlets reported. He paid a $350 fine and will be attending a DUI school, along with having his driver’s license restricted for one year. Hargett will also have a interlock system in his car, which will require him to pass a breathalyzer-type alcohol detection test before the engine will start.
The secretary was arrested on June 18, after leaving Bar 315 in Tullahoma. An officer stopped the secretary’s assigned vehicle after watching the vehicle ride on several lane markings. After detecting an odor, the officer noticed that the secretary’s eyes were glossy and that Hargett kept saying “yes, sir” at inappropriate times, even when not being asked a question. Hargett was arrested after failing several sobriety tests.
“Driving under the influence is a serious matter, and I regret the circumstances that led to my arrest. I respect law enforcement and will trust the legal process as we move forward,” Hargett said at the time.
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