Update: Carlton County Attorney Charged with Seven Offenses

By KBJR News 1

July 17, 2012 Updated Jul 19, 2012 at 6:34 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) -- According to court administrators and the City of Duluth's Attorneys office, Carlton County Attorney Thom Pertler has been charged with seven courts from a drinking and driving incident.

According to a criminal complaint, Perlter has been charged with 4th Degree DWI, Third Degree Refusal to Submit to a Chemical Test, Speeding, Driving Over the Center Line, Failure to Signal, Possession of an Open Bottle, and No Proof of Insurance.

The complaint says that Pertler was pulled over at 12:30 on Tuesday after two witnesses saw Pertler swerving. A state trooper clocked him speeding and weaving, and pulled him over.

According to the complaint, the trooper observed Pertler with the odor of alcohol, bloodshot eyes and slurred speech.

Pertler was placed under arrest for operating a motor vehicle.

Pertler had an open 375 ML bottle of Tasska Vodka in his car, according to the complaint. It says he tried to hid it under his drivers seat.

A preliminary breath test reveals Pertler had an .234 blood-alcohol content.

He did spend the night in jail before he was released on 3,000 dollars bail at noon Wednesday.

As for retaining his position as County attorney, that will be up to the voters.

"It's basically going to be with the voters. When you look at the removal statutes, it's really the issue of when the person commits these acts while in the official performance of their duties," said John Kingrey with the Minnesota County Attorneys Assocation.

Pertler is up for re-election in 2014, as are most of the county attorneys of Minnesota.

Although he has no prior convictions, Pertler has been accused of drinking a driving in the past, and resigned from his position at Fond Du Lac Community College after one of those incidents.
A Minnesota Statute says that a county attorney engaging in habitual drunkenness is good cause to remove them from office, but the county attorneys association is calling this an isolated incident and says it doesn't meet that standard.