TWIN FALLS — A former Twin Falls County Sheriff‘s captain was sentenced Tuesday to a year of supervised probation and 48 hours of community service for drunken driving while off duty.
Brent Hilliard was sentenced in Twin Falls County Fifth District Court. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor Oct. 23 for driving under the influence. He was originally charged with an excessive DUI, but the charge was amended. An excessive DUI means a person has a blood alcohol level of 0.2 or more. Hilliard’s precise level was not listed in court documents.
On Tuesday, Judge Calvin Campbell ordered a 12-month withheld judgement. He told Hilliard he was going to treat him just like anyone else and order a withheld judgement because he doesn’t have a prior record.
“I know you’re probably more disappointed in yourself than anyone,” he said.
Hilliard had surgery in May because of a ruptured disc in his back, and after not receiving clearance from a doctor to return to work, he became depressed over potentially losing his career, attorney Anthony Valdez said in court. “That had a significant impact upon Brent.”
“It was a dark time,” Hilliard said in court. “I did fully believe I was going to lose my job with the sheriff’s office after 21 years. I made a poor decision.”
He went out drinking alone in the desert Sept. 7. He was driving south on U.S. 93 when stopped by a county deputy at about milepost 32 north of Hollister.
Hilliard was off duty and wasn’t driving a county vehicle. The sheriff’s office immediately turned over the case to the Idaho State Police to avoid a conflict of interest.
Hilliard was suspended from the Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office. He is no longer employed by the sheriff’s office, staff said Tuesday.
Instead of serving 180 days in Twin Falls County Jail with 177 days suspended, Hilliard is required to complete the 48 hours of community service within 120 days.
Campbell said Hilliard couldn’t participate in the sheriff’s work detail due to physical limitations.
Hilliard was also ordered to pay $1,202.50 in fees. His driver’s license is suspended for 180 days, but a restricted permit is authorized after the first 30 days.
Hilliard has attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings on his own accord for two months, Valdez said in court, and those have been “very useful to him.”
Hilliard has served for 25 years as a law enforcement officer. He has been with the Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office since 1996 and was promoted to captain in 2011.