Drunken-driving charges against former Undersheriff Steve Bolts were dropped Monday after his blood sample was retested and came back under the state’s legal driving limit.
Bolts, who was the second-highest ranking leader in the county Sheriff’s Department, was arrested June 5 in Atascadero for allegedly driving under the influence. He pleaded not guilty to the charge in July.
An initial blood test showed Bolts had a blood-alcohol level of 0.09 percent, according to his attorney, Chris Casciola.
A preliminary breath screening taken by police after Bolts’ traffic stop showed a blood-alcohol content of 0.086 percent. The legal limit for driving in California is 0.08 percent.
His blood sample was then sent to a lab in San Francisco for a retest, Casciola said. It came back with a blood-alcohol level of .07 percent, under the legal limit.
The state Attorney General’s Office was handling the case because of a potential conflict with the county District Attorney’s Office.
A compromise was reached, and Superior Court Judge Barry LaBarbera dismissed the DUI charge against Bolts on Monday.
Instead, Bolts pleaded no contest to a charge of reckless driving. A no-contest plea results in a conviction without admitting guilt.
He was given a $500 fine and sentenced to three years of probation. He was not present at Monday’s hearing, and he declined to comment when reached by phone Monday.
Bolts retired Friday, four months earlier than expected. Sheriff’s spokesman Rob Bryn said in a previous interview that Bolts had planned to retire in January, after a new sheriff takes office.