June 23, 2018
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Brewer police captain suspended, demoted after pleading guilty to drunken driving

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — The Brewer police captain charged with drunken driving Saturday night in Bangor pleaded guilty to the charge Wednesday at the Penobscot Judicial Center.

Capt. Christopher Martin, 41, of Bangor was sentenced to 48 hours in the Sagadahoc County alternative sentencing program in October instead of serving jail time.

Two hours after Martin appeared in court, the city of Brewer announced that he was immediately suspended without pay for 60 days and would be demoted from captain to lieutenant once he is able to return to work. Martin had been on paid administrative leave before entering his guilty plea.

District Court Judge John Lucy ordered Martin to pay a $700 fine, $200 more than the mandatory minimum of $500, and suspended Martin’s driver’s license for 90 days as required by law.

The sentence imposed was a joint recommendation made by Martin’s attorney, Kirk Bloomer of Bangor, and the Penobscot County district attorney’s office.

Martin will be allowed to drive for work purposes in the final 30 days of his license suspension, which will be after he completes the alternative sentencing program, Bloomer said late Wednesday.

“In order to return to employment following suspension, your Maine driver’s license must be reinstated,” a memorandum addressed to Capt. Chris Martin and initialed by Brewer City Manager Stephen Bost said. “If your license is not reinstated by the end of your sixty-day suspension, your unpaid suspension will be extended until your driver’s license is reinstated.”

Conditions of Martin’s continued employment in Brewer include completion of substance abuse counseling. When he returns to work, Martin will be on probation for one year, Bost said.

The captain appeared slightly nervous as he stood before Lucy in court but his guilty plea could be heard throughout the first-floor courtroom. Martin was dressed in charcoal-colored dress slacks, a long-sleeved white dress shirt and a diagonally striped blue tie.

Bloomer and his client left the courthouse without speaking to reporters.

Martin was summoned Saturday for operating under the influence of intoxicants, Lt. Paul Edwards, spokesman for the Bangor police, said Monday.

He was scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 7 on one count of the charge, a misdemeanor.

Martin’s blood alcohol level was .17, more than twice the legal limit of .08, according to Michael Roberts, deputy district attorney for Penobscot County, who prosecuted the case.

The captain was not on duty Saturday night, Roberts said Monday.

Because Martin’s blood alcohol level was higher than .15 and because he has no prior convictions for operating under the influence of intoxicants, he would qualify for an alternative sentencing program.

Run by sheriffs’ offices around the state, the program allows individuals to serve a mandatory 48-hour sentence as part of a work crew in the community, usually at a local school. The inmates often paint classrooms and do seasonal cleanups.

The program includes more than six hours of discussion about alcohol and substance abuse at night with licensed counselors, community service at a school, and no contact with family or friends. The men and women sleep at the schools or other institutions in separate rooms on cots and are considered incarcerated.

Bloomer told the judge Wednesday that his client has been accepted into the October program in Sagadahoc County. Penobscot County’s next alternative sentencing event with available space is in December.

Martin’s yearly salary is $68,000, according to Moffitt.

A concerned motorist driving on Union Street called Bangor police Saturday night to report an erratic driver, the prosecutor said, referring to a police report. The woman told the dispatcher that she was following Martin, who turned onto Griffin Road.

“He pulled off on his own into the parking lot of the Asian Palace II,” Roberts said. “That is where police found him. They took him to the station where an Intoxilyzer test was administered.”

Martin was released from the police station. He was not arrested, the prosecutor said.

Roberts said he did not know if someone picked Martin up or he left on foot. He also did not know where or when Martin had been drinking.

Martin has been with the Brewer Police Department for 19 years.

A first offense of drunken driving is a Class D crime punishable by up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.

BDN writer Ryan McLaughlin contributed to this report.

Correction: An earlier version of this story requires correction. Martin can drive in the final 30 days of his license suspension. The earlier story said 90 days.

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