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Culpeper official to appeal his plea
Culpeper councilman appeals DUI conviction

Date published: 6/13/2009

BY DONNIE JOHNSTON

Culpeper Town Councilman Bobby Ryan has appealed his own guilty plea in a DUI case.

Ryan is scheduled to appear in Culpeper County Circuit Court on Monday to have a trial date set.

As part of a plea arrangement, Ryan pleaded guilty on May 21 in Culpeper District Court to driving under the influence, his second offense in five years.

Substitute Judge Steve Helvin accepted the terms of the agreement worked out between Ryan's lawyer, T.C. Lea, and special prosecutor Amy Harper. He sentenced the councilman to 90 days in jail, with 60 of those suspended.

Ryan was also fined $500, had his license suspended for three years and was ordered to enroll in a substance-abuse program.

The councilman was scheduled to begin serving his jail sentence, which was restricted to weekends, next Friday.

While those who plead guilty in Circuit Court automatically forfeit their right to an appeal, those who plead guilty in District Court have 10 days in which to appeal. Ryan appealed on May 29.

Special Agent N.R. White, an off-duty special agent for the Virginia State Police, stopped Ryan just after midnight on Feb. 26 for driving erratically on Sunset Lane and subsequently charged him with DUI.

According to court documents, White observed Ryan's vehicle "cross the center line 12 times" before stopping him.

The 64-year-old Ryan had a blood-alcohol content reading of .17.

Ryan served on the the Town Council from 1994-2002. He was elected again last year.

Donnie Johnston:
Email: djohnston@freelancestar.com