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News / Clark County News

Clark County deputy prosecutor gets probation for DUI

Gasperino pleads guilty, sentenced to 15 days of electronic home monitoring

By Paris Achen
Published: January 22, 2015, 4:00pm

A senior deputy prosecutor in Clark County’s Major Crimes unit has been sentenced to 15 days of electronic home monitoring and five years of probation for drunken driving.

Dan Gasperino, 35, of Vancouver pleaded guilty in Skamania County District Court on Thursday to driving under the influence.

“I have no excuse for my behavior that night, and that is why I stand here taking responsibility today,” Gasperino said in a court statement Thursday.

Gasperino was eligible for a standard plea offer for those without prior convictions in which Skamania County would have stayed his prosecution for two years and reduced his conviction to first-degree negligent driving, provided that he complied with court orders for treatment and didn’t commit additional crimes.

“He actually was willing to step up and take responsibility for the crime he was charged with,” said Skamania County Prosecutor Adam Kick. “He made no effort to challenge the allegations or explore technical flaws in the case. It was my impression he made a mistake and he wanted to take responsibility.”

Clark County Prosecutor Tony Golik, who is Gasperino’s boss, said the senior deputy prosecutor’s guilty plea triggers an internal investigation into his actions.

He said there are not specific guidelines concerning the employment of a deputy prosecutor convicted of DUI. Whether Gasperino is allowed to stay at the prosecutor’s office is at Golik’s discretion. He is on paid administrative leave pending the investigation. The senior deputy prosecutor earns a salary of $94,260 per year.

Golik said the investigation is expected to take at least two weeks. When it is complete, he said he plans to issue a written decision.

Gasperino was arrested Dec. 22 after a Washington State Patrol trooper pulled him over on northbound Interstate 205. The trooper observed Gasperino drifting across lanes several times at about 2:30 a.m., according to Clark County District Court documents. Thinking that the driver might be using a cellphone, the trooper initiated a traffic stop, court papers say. When the trooper approached Gasperino’s driver’s side window, the trooper smelled alcohol, he said.

Gasperino was arrested after failing sobriety tests, according to court papers. His blood alcohol content was 0.175 percent, court papers say. The legal limit is 0.08.

His case was moved from Clark County to Skamania County to avoid a conflict of interest.

His defense attorney, Jack Green, said within 24 hours of his DUI citation, Gasperino sought a medical evaluation and received a diagnosis and treatment plan for alcohol abuse. He took medical leave from the prosecutor’s office and entered inpatient treatment, which he completed earlier this week, Green said. He was then placed on administrative leave Wednesday, according to Golik. Green said Gasperino is still undergoing outpatient treatment.

By pleading guilty to DUI, Gasperino faced a minimum sentence of one day in jail or 15 days of electronic home monitoring, Kick said. Skamania County District Court Judge Ron Reynier sentenced him to 15 days of electronic home monitoring in lieu of the day in jail. Gasperino’s sentence also entails a 90-day suspension of his driver’s license and paying $2,250 in fines, fees and costs. During his five years of probation, he will be required to check in with a probation officer in Skamania County, Kick said.

“It’s the first time in my career ever that I’ve had a client turn down a more favorable offer that involved less time in order to be accountable for his actions and hold himself to a higher standard and to put aside notions that he would get special treatment because of his job title and position,” Green said.