Dennis Archer photo

Dennis Archer

A plea agreement has resolved a drunken driving case against the assistant chief of the Brazil Police Department.

Dennis Archer, 43, pleaded guilty to reckless driving, a class C misdemeanor, during an initial hearing this morning in Clay Superior Court.

The plea agreement dropped a count of operating a vehicle with an alcohol concentration equivalent of .08 or more, also class C misdemeanor.

The sentencing range for a C misdemeanor is 0 to 60 days in jail.

Archer was arrested June 22 in a traffic stop by Indiana State Police Trooper Todd Brown near U.S. 40 and West Street in Brazil after the trooper observed unsafe lane movement, according to state police.

ISP said Archer had a blood alcohol concentration of .09 percent. He posted bond and was released from the Clay County Jail that same day.

Archer is a 19-year veteran of the Brazil Police Department.

“We treated him the same way we would treat a first-time offender with a .09 test in Vigo County,” said Special Prosecutor Rob Roberts, who is chief deputy prosecutor in Vigo County.

Roberts was appointed as special prosecutor in this case at the request of the Clay County Prosecutor's Office to avoid the appearance of impropriety due to the close working relationship between Archer and the Clay County prosecutor's office.

Roberts said it is the Vigo County policy to offer a plea of reckless driving to a first-time offender with a .09 blood-alcohol content.

Archer received no driver's license suspension.

Roberts said a license suspension is automatic when a motorist refuses to submit to a chemical test, but Archer complied at the time of the stop.

Terms of the plea agreement call for a 60-day jail sentence, suspended with credit for time spent in jail. Archer is to be on informal probation for 305 days and must perform 40 hours of community service.

He is also required to participate in an alcohol and drug treatment evaluation and abide by any recommendations, Roberts said.

Formal charges in the case were not filed until Monday morning, when the plea agreement was also filed.

Terre Haute attorney Joseph Etling filed his appearance as defense attorney for Archer on Monday morning.

Roberts said since Archer hired an attorney soon after his arrest, time was allowed to negotiate a plea agreement prior to the initial hearing.

Brazil Mayor Bryan Wyndham said Archer would face no discipline, citing Archer's “stellar” work record prior to the arrest.

Police Chief Clint McQueen said he talked to Mayor Wyndham this morning after the hearing.

“It has been resolved, and we are going to move forward now,” McQueen said.

Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or at lisa.trigg@tribstar.com. Follow her on Twitter at TribStarLisa.

Lisa Trigg has been a reporter at the Tribune-Star since 2009. With close to 29 years of newspaper experience, she now covers general news with a focus on crime and courts.