GOLDEN, Colorado – Beer executive Pete Coors pleaded guilty Friday to driving while impaired, a lesser charge than the DUI count filed against him after his May arrest, and was sentenced to 24 hours of community service.
The judge suspended a $200 fine, but ordered Coors to participate on a panel sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving and to go through alcohol education courses. Coors' driver's license also was suspended for three months from the date of his arrest, and he must also pay $495 in court costs and fees.
District attorney's spokeswoman Pam Russell said it was typical to dismiss the drunken driving charge for the lesser charge when defendants, like Coors, have no previous arrests.
The Denver Post reported that Coors entered the plea against the advice of his attorney because he thought the arrest had been an embarrassment to him and his company.
Coors, 59, vice chairman and a director of Molson Coors Brewing Co. (TAP), was pulled over by a state trooper May 28 after he left a friend's wedding celebration.
Company spokeswoman Kabira Hatland has said Coors rolled through a stop sign a block from his Golden home and was stopped by the officer in his driveway. She said his blood-alcohol content after a breath test was 0.088 percent, above the 0.08 percent level at which a motorist is considered to be driving under the influence.
Coors often appears in television ads for the company and ran for the U.S. Senate as a Republican in 2004. He issued a statement last month apologizing for not following his own advice to drink responsibly.