Colusa County DA Arrested On DUI Charge, But Not Booked Into Jail

COLUSA COUNTY (CBS13) – A district attorney has been arrested for DUI. He was arrested, but never booked into jail.

The DA admits what he did was wrong, but cops say not putting him in jail was right.

His name might as well be up in lights here. He’s a big name in this small town. The man who was district attorney for 25 years is now suddenly on the wrong side of the law.

At the Colusa County Courthouse so far this year only six DUI cases have been filed by the CHP. But one of them is against the man in charge of prosecuting all the others: District Attorney John Poyner.

“The vehicle was seen traveling on Highway 20,” said CHP Commander JT Epperson.

But Poyner’s arrest on this two-lane road is unusual not only because of who he is, but because of what happened next. The DA was arrested, his car towed then he was allowed to go home. He was never booked into jail.

Steve: Any time there is a public figure arrested and not booked into jail, you have to ask, was there special treatment.

Epperson: Absolutely not.

Commander JT Epperson says he made the decision not to book Poyner based on CHP policy.

“We have to be able to identify them, they can’t be a flight risk, they can’t be able to cause harm to themselves or others,” said Epperson.

Epperson says in his six months working here, at least one other DUI suspect was not booked into jail — an elderly woman.

Poyner was driving home from dinner with his wife when he was pulled over. He failed a field sobriety and a breathalyzer test.

Poyner would not go on camera, but told CBS13 on the phone, “I made a mistake. I was wrong. There’s no doubt about it. As soon as the attorney general files the charge, I’ll go to court and plead guilty. It is what it is. I feel terrible about it.”

At Poyner’s barber shop his reputation doesn’t seem to have faded.

“It happens in the big city. I think it’s covered up more in the big cities. Local towns you don’t get away with those kinds of things,” said Poyner’s barber.

Poyner says he won’t be taking any time off work. That means he could very well be prosecuting other people’s dui cases, as he deals with his very own.

Epperson says his office releases up to a dozen DUI suspects each year without booking them.

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