Wife of Montgomery County state senator pleads guilty to driving while impaired

Erin Giannetti arrested in Dec. after celebration for finishing law school

August 02, 2005|By David Nitkin | David Nitkin,SUN STAFF

Erin A. Giannetti, the wife of a state senator who sponsored legislation against drunken driving, has received a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to driving while impaired.

Giannetti, 26, was sentenced last week in Baltimore District Court. She had been arrested in December on Interstate 395 after driving a black Mercedes at 77 mph. She failed sobriety tests administered by a police officer, charging documents say.

After calling her husband, state Sen. John A. Giannetti Jr. of Prince George's County, she refused to take a Breathalyzer test, saying her husband had advised against it, the documents say.

FOR THE RECORD - A headline in the Maryland section yesterday referred to Erin A. Giannetti as the wife of a Montgomery County state senator. Her husband, John A. Giannetti Jr., is a senator from Prince George's County.
The Sun regrets the errors.

An administrative law judge then ordered her to install a device in her car that disables the ignition if alcohol is detected when the driver blows into it, said Leonard Shapiro, a lawyer who represented her.

Senator Giannetti successfully sponsored legislation making it a crime for drunken-driving suspects to refuse tests if they are later found guilty. The law takes effect Oct. 1.

His wife received a 60-day sentence Friday from Baltimore District Judge Charlotte M. Cooksey, with all but one day suspended. The time she spent in booking in December was counted as that day.

The sentence includes two years of supervised probation and a requirement that she continue to receive psychiatric treatment. She also must follow through with a lawyer's assistance program.

She was arrested after celebrating her graduation from University of Maryland law school, the police report said. She took the Maryland bar exam last week, but could not be licensed as a lawyer until after her probationary period, Shapiro said.

Senator Giannetti, who was criticized last year for hosting tailgate parties at the University of Maryland where alcohol was available to students under 21, declined comment yesterday.

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