Franklin Co. judge Hawkins pleads guilty to OVI charge

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LANCASTER, OH (WCMH) — A Franklin County judge will spend three days in a residential treatment program and pay a fine after pleading guilty to operating a vehicle under the influence.

Pickerington police pulled Judge Monica Hawkins over on January 31 for a marked lanes violation.  An officer said he smelled alcohol and saw vomit on the floor of the judge’s car.

Hawkins, a Franklin County domestic relations judge, refused to give a breath sample, and in dash camera video, she can be seen struggling to stay upright during field sobriety tests. Officers obtained a warrant for a blood draw. According to police, Hawkins was uncooperative during the blood draw and was actively resisting.

In exchange for a guilty plea on the charge, the other charges against Hawkins were dismissed.

In court, she sat alongside her attorney Brad Koffel, who described her to the Fairfield County judge as an elected official and judge who was taking full responsibility for her actions.

“She let herself down, she put the events in motion when she consumed some alcohol a few hours prior to this event,” Koffel said. “This has been a horribly embarrassing, humbling experience for her and she is thankful that the state of Ohio has indicated that they would recommend the court minimum sanctions. We just ask that she would be treated the same as anyone else.”

The Fairfield County judge ordered Hawkins to spend three days in residential treatment and suspended the remaining 87 days of her 90 day sentence. He also suspended her driver’s license for one year, with privileges to go to and from a few places, including work and medical appointments, after an initial waiting period.

Outside the courtroom, Hawkins told reporters, “This has been horrible, but it will make me a better judge.”

NBC4 asked Brad Koffel about his previous statements that Hawkins had suffered a concussion the night she was pulled over. Koffel said that was still the case. When asked whether that happened before or after the judge drank alcohol, Koffel said they were still trying to piece that together.

Hawkins has 90 days to pay $375 and court costs and must complete her residential treatment program within 120 days. She will also be on one year of nonreporting probation and must stay away from alcohol and drugs other than those prescribed by a doctor.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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