SLC Legislature will weigh fate of Arquiett after guilty plea

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 5:37 PM EST
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CANTON, New York (WWNY) - The St. Lawrence County legislature will soon weigh the fate of legislator Tony Arquiett. It comes after he pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated Tuesday.

Arquiett also made clear he intends to continue serving on the county legislature. That makes some other legislators uneasy.

“Yes, we are concerned. We are public servants and we are held to a higher degree of behavior,” Bill Sheridan, legislature chairman said Wednesday.

Arquiett had also faced a felony drug charge. But that was dropped as part of a plea deal. Sheridan said the lack of a felony conviction limits actions the legislature can take. It now has three options.

“One of the options would be to ask for Mr. Arquiett’s resignation. … The other options include referring the matter over to the county ethics panel or introducing a resolution of condemnation,” Sheridan said. He said the matter could come before the legislature at its January 24 meeting.

Arquiett racked up the DWI, drug and other charges in a head-on crash. In the other vehicle rode a family that only narrowly escaped serious injury. Arquiett’s license is now suspended. But Tuesday he obtained a hardship exemption to drive to work and to the legislature. His lawyer says his client will go there out of a sense of duty.

“He’s in the job of public service that people in his district have elected him to represent their interests on a county level. And he feels obligated to continue that representation to the best of his ability,” said Ed Narrow, Arquiett’s lawyer.

Under the plea deal only the DWI charge will remain on his record.

Arquiett will appear in Bombay town court for sentencing April 5. In the meantime, a pre-sentencing report will be prepared by the Franklin County probation department. That report could be key to the specifics of any sentence the judge imposes.

The plea deal reached Tuesday would have Arquiett serve no more than 3 years probation. His license would be suspended for six months. He would pay fines and possibly restitution.

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