A judge who once presided over DUI cases in Pennsylvania has been sentenced after his own 2017 DUI. Thomas Kistler found himself "on the other side of the law" after he was found driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content of .231 last September. Charges were filed after Kistler's vehicle struck a person directing traffic near the Penn State-Indiana football game. The contact between the vehicle and security traffic officer was minor, by their own account. There was no injury and no damage to the vehicle. After logging the truck's plates, police identified the driver as Kistler.
Don't Judge: A DUI Suspect Can Be Anyone On Either Side of the Law
Kistler stepped down from his post as County President judge earlier last year, prior to his DUI - although he would still hear cases. The current County President judge issued a statement when Kistler was charged, "Since Judge Kistler is a member of our court, I am requesting an out-of-county judge be appointed to hear his case. I have removed Judge Kistler from hearing any DUI or State College Police Department matters until his case is finally resolved.”
After a preliminary hearing in late November, Kistler has been sentenced to "accelerated rehabilitative disposition" or ARD. To complete an ARD program, Judge Kistler must complete safety school, be supervised for a period of time, complete community service, and pay the costs and fees of the prosecution.
Kistler's case underscores the fact that a DUI can happen to absolutely anyone. Even the judges who hand down sentences in DUI cases can find themselves on the other side of the law. Despite the misfortune of a DUI charge, cases like Kistler help to illustrate that, despite the social stigma it carries, a DUI can happen to even the most upstanding of individuals with good reputations and accomplished careers. Georgia has been home to judges who have pleaded guilty to DUIs, too, like a judge in Monroe County.
When people like Kistler (who work in government or have high powered jobs) are charged with DUI, it is not uncommon for them to resign from their posts, even if it is a first-time offense and they have not yet been convicted. That was the same for the judge in Monroe County, Georgia, who was charged with DUI. A DUI usually throws off the sense of trust placed in a government official or CEO; usually, a public statement or apology is issued and the DUI suspect resigns.
If Arrested for DUI in Georgia, Retain Counsel before Doing Something that Could Affect Your Job
Some may argue that this is a premature demonstration of guilt, and the suspect is better off fighting the charges. For some, that's absolutely correct, fighting a DUI charge when your job is at stake is imperative: you can lose your job, your profession, your livelihood. It's best to always retain counsel for a professional, legal opinion before making such a decision that could have serious consequences for the rest of your life.
If you have been charged with DUI in Georgia, it is critical that you fight these charges and curb the negative impact they can have on your career. Immediately contact a Georgia DUI attorney online for a free consultation of your charges, or call 404-816-4440. Phones are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.