Candidate for House was arrested on DUI charge after concert

By Steve LeBlanc
Associated Press / September 1, 2010

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Jon Golnik, a Republican challenger to US Representative Niki Tsongas, was arrested in 2001 and charged with operating under the influence of drugs and alcohol, according to a police report obtained by the Associated Press.

Golnik’s license was suspended. The driving under the influence of alcohol charge was continued without a finding, which allows defendants to avoid jail if they stay out of trouble. A marijuana charge was eventually dismissed.

In an interview yesterday, Golnik acknowledged drinking and driving, but said he had not smoked marijuana and did not have rolling papers, as police said in their report. Golnik said he was on his way home from an AC/DC concert at the FleetCenter when he was pulled over.

“I certainly had been drinking and driving,’’ said Golnik, who was 35 at the time. “There were no rolling papers. I never admitted to smoking marijuana.’’

Golnik, who resells Boston College merchandise, is in a four-way Republican race for the state’s Fifth District. He is considered a leading candidate. Whoever prevails in the Sept. 14 primary will go on to challenge Tsongas, a Democrat and the incumbent.

According to the police report, an officer spotted Golnik at about 11:20 p.m. May 4, 2001, driving with a flat tire westbound on Route 2 in Arlington.

The officer pulled over Golnik, who was shirtless and appeared disoriented, according to the report. “He stated he had four beers and admitted that the alcohol had affected his ability to operate the vehicle,’’ the report said. “Golnik’s speech was extremely slurred.’’

Police said they found rolling papers when Golnik emptied his pockets following his arrest and he registered a 0.18 blood alcohol level during a breathalyzer test, more than twice the legal limit.

“Golnik admitted to Sergeant Conroy and myself that he had smoked ‘half a joint’ of marijuana at approximately 6 p.m.,’’ the report added. Golnik was also found with pepper spray, but did not have a license for it, according to police.

In a memo submitted to Cambridge District Court by Golnik’s lawyer, J.W. Carney, about two months after the arrest, Carney quoted the police version of the arrest, including the allegation that Golnik had been smoking marijuana.

“The defendant admitted taking hits off a marijuana cigarette, which had been passed along the row at the concert,’’ Carney wrote, and then added that “he is confident that the effects had worn off long before’’ he left the concert.

Golnik said he thinks Carney got his information from the police report.

The police report obtained by the AP makes no reference to the marijuana cigarette being passed along the row at the concert or to any statement by Golnik that he was confident the effects had worn off.

Golnik said he does not think he read Carney’s memo before it was submitted to the court.

“The police said that I had done that and I said that I hadn’t,’’ Golnik said of the marijuana allegation. “It just didn’t happen.’’

Golnik said it was his first and only arrest. top stories on Twitter

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