The Potluck

Wolgamott charged with DWI: ‘I do not have an alcohol use disorder’

By: - August 7, 2023 3:46 pm

House Speaker Pro-Tempore Dan Wolgamott hands the omnibus supplemental education finance and policy bill to Chief Clerk Pat Murphy on April 27. Photo by Paul Battaglia/Minnesota House Information.

Rep. Dan Wolgamott, DFL-St. Cloud, was charged with two DWI misdemeanors on Monday.

On July 7, Wolgamott was arrested by the Minnesota State Patrol on suspicion of DWI in Kanabec County — about 50 miles northeast of St. Cloud.

According to a citation issued Monday, Wolgamott’s blood alcohol concentration was .09 — above the state’s .08 legal limit.

The third-term legislator faces two DWI charges: 4th degree driving while impaired and operating a vehicle with an alcohol concentration above .08, according to court documents.

On July 7, someone called in a complaint about a person drinking in a liquor store parking lot in Mora, Minnesota. The trooper later saw the car weaving within its own lane, according to the state patrol’s incident report, and the trooper pulled the car over. Wolgamott was identified as the driver.

In security camera footage of the liquor store parking lot, Wolgamott appeared to take a drink out of a bottle, put it in his trunk, got back in his car and drove away.

In a statement to the Reformer on Monday, Wolgamott said he has undergone professional testing and received “an assessment that I do not have an alcohol use disorder.” In addition, Wolgamott said he has attended an eight-hour, level one alcohol education class and a Mothers Against Drunk Driving victim panel.

“I want to reiterate my wholehearted apology to my family, my friends, my colleagues, and my constituents, and once again express my gratitude to the law enforcement officers who made sure I got home safe,” he said.

Kanabec County Attorney Barbara McFadden said she couldn’t comment about what kind of sentence she would seek for the charges, but Wolgamott’s case will “go through the same legal process as any other.” The maximum sentence for a misdemeanor is 90 days in prison or a fine up to $1,000.

Wolgamott will have a court appearance by Sept. 6, though a specific date hadn’t been set as of Monday afternoon.

Wolgamott represents a key swing district in the closely divided DFL-controlled House. He was recently named the 2023 “legislator of the year” by the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association.

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Michelle Griffith
Michelle Griffith

Michelle Griffith covers Minnesota politics and policy for the Reformer, with a focus on marginalized communities. Most recently she was a reporter with The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead in North Dakota where she covered state and local government and Indigenous issues.