Dawson pleads guilty to DWI charge

WILTON-A Former Essex County State Supreme Court Judge plead guilty to the charge of driving while intoxicated last week in Wilton Town Court.

Judge James P. Dawson, 65, was in the Saratoga County town court and was fined $500, had his driver's license suspended and must install an alcohol-sensor ignition interlock after pleading guilty to the charge.

In addition to the other penalties, he must also attend a victim impact panel.

Dawson was stopped by state police on the Northway in September after another motorist reported that he was weaving back and forth. Police say his blood alcohol level was .27%, more than three times the legal limit.

He was originally charged with misdemeanor aggravated DWI because of the high blood alcohol level but was allowed to plead guilty to the lesser charge of DWI on the condition that he not get into additional trouble over the next year.

Dawson served as Essex County Court judge from 1992 to 1994 and as Supreme Court justice for the county from 1994 to 2008. He was working as a per diem judicial hearing officer for the state at the time of his arrest.

He has a law firm in Elizabethtown.

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