Former Robbinsdale City Council Member Tyler Kline has been ordered to spend 30 days under electronic home monitoring and was placed on probation for the next three years as punishment for fleeing police while driving impaired in January.
Kline, 38, also was directed to serve 365 days in the county workhouse and pay a $1,500 fine. But both will be dropped if he successfully completes terms of his probation, according to the sentence handed down Friday by Hennepin County District Court Judge Tamara Garcia.
While on probation, Kline is not allowed to consume alcohol or possess a firearm. He must also complete a Mother's Against Drunk Driving impact panel, maintain employment and remain law abiding.
Kline's attorney, Aaron Morrison, had lobbied to have Kline's felony charge of fleeing police downgraded to a gross misdemeanor, saying his client took immediate responsibility for his actions and at the time did not make an intentional decision to flee.
Kline's decision was "clouded by his intoxication. He did not make a rational, clear-minded decision to evade law enforcement. That is what the court should be looking at," Morrison said.
Kline, who said he has not had a drink in more than 200 days and has gone into treatment, appeared emotionally shaken as the events of Jan. 24 were recounted in court. On that night, Kline was arrested after driving the wrong way on Hwy. 100, sideswiping an oncoming vehicle and driving past several squad cars that attempted to stop him. His blood-alcohol content was 0.20%, more than double the legal limit for driving, about an hour after the crash. Kline had to be "physically taken out of the driver's seat," the charges said.
Kline pleaded guilty to fleeing and to two drunken driving charges in June.
"Having events like this retold to me is pretty horrific," he said during the proceedings, which were held remotely. "These are not the actions of a sober person. It has caused me to look in the mirror and change my life. I am apologizing to everyone on the road I put at risk."
But Garcia did kept the felony charge in place.
"It is a shame you didn't alter your life after your 2010 conviction," the judge said. "The court does not buy intoxication as a mitigating factor. The risk to public safety was significant. This was a bad flee. Though remorseful ... that does not justify departure."
Garcia dropped one of the two drunken driving charges and imposed sentences on felony fleeing and one drunken driving charge. Kline's felony charge will drop to a misdemeanor if he successfully completes probation, and his fine will be reduced to $100 plus a court surcharge.
Kline will begin home monitoring Sept. 12.
Kline resigned from the council in May after city officials determined that enough voters had signed a petition to recall him. His First Ward seat will be vacant until a special election is held in November.
Kline also owes $7,315 to Robbinsdale for an insurance claim issued by the League of Minnesota Cities for damage to two squad cars.