Springfield police officer pleads to lesser drunk driving charge

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A Springfield Police Division officer accused of drunk driving has taken a plea deal in the case.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A Springfield Police Division officer accused of drunk driving has taken a plea deal in the case, according to special prosecutor Mark Feinstein.

Officer Joseph “Joey” Robinson pleaded guilty to a charge of having physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, which is a lesser charge than OVI.

Robinson was originally charged with two counts of OVI and one count of failure to stop at a traffic control device stemming from an incident in August.

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Feinstein is the City of Urbana Municipal Court Prosecutor and took on the case at the request of Springfield City Prosecutor Marc Ross. Ross said his office stepped aside to avoid a conflict of interest.

After accepting his guilty plea, Feinstein said Judge Stephen Schumaker ordered that Robinson attend the driver’s intervention program (DIP).

“A 3-day lockdown program designed to educate first-time alcohol-related offenders about the perils of operating a motor vehicle under the influence and to assess the level of his or her alcohol issues,” Feinstein told the Springfield News-Sun in an email. “The assessment results in recommendations. The judge did not sentence him yet, so as to be able to take those recommendations into consideration in crafting the sentence.”

Typically, refusing to undergo a breathalyzer test leads to a driver’s license suspension, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol — but Feinstein said the judge has elected to wait until sentencing to impose any suspensions.

“The reason you may see him driving at this point is because the administrative license suspension, which is the suspension imposed for failure to take the tests, has been stayed pending the final resolution in the case,” Feinstein stated.

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The officer’s legal troubles began on Aug. 25 when a Clark County Sheriff’s Office deputy observed a gray-colored vehicle fail to stop at a traffic light at the intersection of North Street and Fountain Avenue, according to an affidavit filed with the case.

The driver of the vehicle, later identified as Robinson appeared to be intoxicated, according to an affidavit in support of the charges — but Robinson refused to take a breathalyzer test or answer the deputy’s questions.

Springfield Police Chief Lee Graf said on Monday that any deviation from police policies will be ‘taken seriously and investigated thoroughly and fairly.’

“At present, the Springfield Police Division is conducting an internal investigation in regards to this matter,” Graf said in a statement. “To safeguard the integrity of that investigation, we cannot comment on its status at this time.”

Robinson’s sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 15.

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