Toronto councillor admits to driving drunk last October
Coun. Ana Bailao admitted Monday that she got behind the wheel last fall with an elevated blood-alcohol level, an act that eventually filled with her guilt and prompted her to plead guilty to a criminal count in court.
Speaking to reporters on Monday afternoon, a tearful Bailao said she has been given a driving prohibition of 12 months and must pay a $1,000 fine, as a result of pleading guilty to an "over 80 charge." A second charge of impaired driving was dropped.
"I made a bad choice. I take full responsibility for that and I accept the consequences," Bailao said.
Bailao told reporters that her blood-alcohol level was at 0.130 at the time of the incident, well over the legal limit of 0.08.
After Bailao spoke to reporters, Mayor Rob Ford issued a statement saying the issue has been dealt with.
"Councillor Ana Bailao did something wrong and she's taken full responsibility for her actions. I have faith in the justice system and the court's decision regarding the appropriate consequences," Ford said in the statement.
"Ana is a good local councillor, she works hard and represents her residents well at City Hall. I look forward to continuing to work with her on council."
Change in plan to plead not guilty
Last October, Bailao was pulled over by police in downtown Toronto a few hours she attended the Mayor's Ball for the Arts. She was subsequently charged with impaired driving.
Hours after Bailao was charged, she initially told reporters that she planned to plead not guilty to the impaired driving charges.
On Monday, Bailao apologized to her supporters, saying that her eventual decision to plead guilty was necessary to clear her conscience.
Bailao said she hopes others can learn from what she has gone through.
"I felt in control when I made that decision to drive that night. But regardless of how in control you feel, one drink is too many, weighted against the potential risk to others," she said.
"My decision today is about being true to myself and my conscience."
Bailao is a first-term councillor for Ward 18 Davenport. She previously worked as a special assistant to former city councillor Mario Silva.
- This story has been updated to clarify the fact that Bailao pleaded guilty to being above the legal limit. A charge of impaired driving was dropped.Jan 29, 2013 11:16 AM ET