Lawmaker pleads guilty to driving while intoxicated

Gary Heinlein
The Detroit News

Lansing — State Rep. John Kivela pleaded guilty Friday to a reduced charge of first-offense driving while intoxicated in connection with his early November arrest along U.S. 127 in Clinton County.

Kivela, D-Marquette, appeared in Clinton County District Court. A more serious charge of operating while intoxicated with a high blood alcohol content was dismissed.

A sheriff’s deputy pulled over the Upper Peninsula lawmaker’s pickup on U.S. 127 in Clinton County the evening of Nov. 9 after receiving reports of a vehicle speeding and weaving in traffic on the highway just north of Lansing.

Kivela registered a blood alcohol content of .238, according to a police report obtained by The Detroit News. A content of .08 is considered legally intoxicated under Michigan law. The more serious charge for a high blood alcohol level exceeding .17 carries stronger penalties.

Kivela said immediately after the incident that he would seek treatment for alcoholism. Spokesman Josh Pugh said Friday his treatment and recovery have been going well. He said Kivela has been back at work in the Legislature and now is receiving outpatient therapy.

“Today was a positive step for him and his family,” Pugh said. “He had a good week of work. He is grateful to all of the constituents who offered their thoughts and prayers.”

The judge scheduled sentencing for Jan. 19.