Goggins gets five years for criminal endangerment

By Eleanor Guerrero
Thursday, August 16, 2018
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Photo by Eleanor Guerrero

Timothy Goggins receives 5 years, suspended, on the basis of treatment and other conditions for Criminal Endangerment in a motor vehicle.

After a circuitous route over three months, on Wednesday, Aug. 8, Timothy Goggins was both arraigned and sentenced in Carbon County District Court on a new charge of criminal endangerment, a felony. With four convictions of DUI and a history of “8 DUI’s” he was sentenced to five years in the Department of Correction, all suspended and a $5,000 fine.

Although originally charged with driving while under the influence, a felony, or in the alternative, operation of a non-commercial motor vehicle by a person with an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, a felony, an amended information was filed on July 11, changing the charge.

Carbon County Attorney Alex Nixon said the amended charge allows the judge to sentence a maximum term of ten years versus the prior five years potential under the DUI, if convicted or pleading. There is a plea agreement and Goggins pled guilty.

Nixon explained, “We were at sentencing when we learned that Goggins would not be able to participate in a court program in Billings.” The provisions would not comply with the State as far as the DUI options.

The change of plea to guilty of criminal endangerment would give the court more discretion “because endangerment is a more serious felony” said Nixon, and the agreement “is precisely as the parties intended.”

“You hold the key to your freedom in your hands,” said Judge Blair Jones to Goggins. “I’ll agree to this because it’s the State’s recommendation but I am going to give Mr. Dompier (Montana Probation Officer) the tools he needs if you comply or you don’t, to revoke. I hope you understand how serious it is. Whatever keeps you accountable, keeps you free. Your freedom is at stake. I guarantee you don’t want that.”

A person convicted of the offense of criminal endangerment shall be fined an amount not to exceed $50,000 or imprisoned in the state prison for a term not to exceed 10 years, or both.

Jones said, “It’s a little unusual, but I think we can make it work.”

Dompier said, “The Department does have some concerns. This is not our first time down this road with this defendant. I’m not completely sure of the Light House recommendations. The program was created for the defendant. I’ve never seen it before. Intensive outpatient one year, once a week following after care. I can’t wrap my head around it. ”

Jones said, “I share the Probation Officer’s concerns. You look at the history of 8 incidents. That’s put a lot of people in danger a lot of different times. I hope Light-House is a help to your sobriety. It’s either something like this or straight prison time.”

Goggins was represented by attorney Gregory Johnson. Goggins admitted to operating a motor vehicle within the boundaries of Carbon County on Aug. 24, 2016, at approximately 1:30 p.m. and as a result of consuming alcohol on a public highway said he did he believe his condition created a serious risk of bodily injury or death to other persons.

The State had requested that Goggins attend alcohol dependency treatment and receive a 5 year sentence in the Department of Corrections, all suspended, with the ability to operate motor vehicle only upon the consent of DOC. Nixon added, “The State heartily disagrees with the ‘low risk’ (Pre Sentence Investigation) assessment.”

The 5 years sentence, suspended, with treatment was a joint recommendation by the State and the Defense. Nixon added one more condition, “That the defendant execute a waiver to allow the treatment provider to provide reports of progress and any violations. I think that’s essential.”

Johnson noted the defendant has been sober the last two years, “at all times and is subject to the SCRAM unit by Yellowstone District Court pending a petition to revoke that sentence based on this violation.” He recommended an anger management program and asked that there be no interlock device if Goggins is allowed to drive due to his ‘low risk’ assessment.

Jones said, “Lighthouse will provide progress reports and we agree-whatever works (for sobriety). That’s what everybody wants here including the defendant.”

Goggins said, “I made a bad choice. Some mad, mostly sad. His father died. “My family is torn apart over money and land and property. I ran to alcohol. My good old buddies were there for me. It’s not an option for me anymore to run away from responsibility. No excuses. I’m a better man for it.” He said he does go to AA.

Goggins had appeared earlier on Wednesday, June 27, for a status hearing on a charge of a DUI, which would have been his fourth conviction if convicted.

In the Information it is alleged Goggins “knowingly engages in conduct that creates a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to another…” in that “Defendant operated a vehicle in a manner that placed other drivers, and himself, at risk of death or serious bodily injury.”

According to an affidavit filed with an Information on Sept. 14, 2016, on Aug. 24, 2016, it is alleged that Sheriff’s Office Dispatch received a report of a “visibly intoxicated ‘biker looking’ man was trying to drive a red Ford truck F-150” at S. Broadway in Red Lodge.

Then Acting Chief Scott Cope stated in the affidavit that he responded and saw a truck matching the description with a driver. He noted he had a report that the driver was too drunk to be driving and the driver allegedly responded, “Not really.” The affidavit states Goggins allegedly said he was staying at the Clarion Hotel and Cope informed him there was no Clarion Hotel. When asked to do sobriety tests, the defendant allegedly responded that he would fail them. When he attempted to do the tests, according to an affidavit filed on Sept. 14, 2016, by Alex Nixon, he was told by Officer Cope he was “messed up.” Goggins allegedly replied, “Yes I am. You got me.”

In sentencing, Jones added the interlock device requirement because, “I’m concerned especially if you got behind the will after drinking. We simply can allow that to happen. You will be allowed to drive only under the laws of Montana and only under the approval of Probation and Parole.”

Judge Jones also ordered that a Lighthouse waiver be signed by the defendant for updates to the State.

Jones concluded, “(The sentence) provides for rehabilitation, provides you would pay for that, and provides a measure of community safety by virtue of supervision by the Department of Corrections. You must have post treatment.AA will satisfy that.”