Madera City Council Member Will Oliver this week disclosed that he had been arrested on a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence of alcohol in mid November of 2016.
Oliver said the revelation had become necessary due to the realities of social media, rumors and the searchable digital age, and the fact that he was now running for re-election to his City Council seat in District 3 and he wanted to clarify the story and clear the air.
“It’s the digital age and this stuff is out there (on the Internet),” Oliver said, referring to a mug shot posted by an Internet company that posts local mug shots, and some questions and comments from residents.
“I’m happy to address it,” said Oliver. “It’s something that happened. It was an error in judgment and one that I do regret. It’s in the public domain and I’ve never skirted from it. It’s unfortunate and I knew it could possibly come up. It was humiliating, but it’s something I was humbled by and learned from. I let those know who needed to know, some of my colleagues, including the mayor, the city manager and my employer, my close family and friends — those that needed to know, at the time. Those were the people I needed to support me ... at that (difficult) time.” he said.
Oliver was serving on the Madera City Council at the time of the arrest, and said he pleaded no contest to the charge.
“It was an evening where I made a poor decision. I had plans to stay at a friend’s house and those plans fell through,” he said. “It was poor judgment and I made a very bad decision to drive home when I shouldn’t have. But I’m lucky — I did not hurt anyone else or myself. At the time I was also struggling with my own personal grief and hardship after the loss of my father, my grandmother, my uncle and my brother, all in a few short years. My father was the cornerstone of my life, and it was difficult for me then and it still is today. This was one of the lowest points in my life ... and I learned a lot from it and was humbled by it.” “Should I have come forward publicly and made a political statement then?” Oliver asked. “Probably. But I felt at the time ... when it didn’t come up then, I had to do what was best for me personally, right at that moment. I thought most people knew. I have tried to address it with myself, personally. I took the necessary steps to personally heal, to learn from it, and move forward. And I did. I went through the (court) process, hired an attorney, did not try to pull any levers (of influence). Paid my fines, enrolled in the (counseling) programs that were necessary. It’s definitely also given me empathy and a better understanding of others who fall on tough times,” he said.
Fines and court costs are in the thousands of dollars, and hiring an attorney can easily put the cost of a first-time DUI offense at close to or over $10,000, according to local law enforcement agencies. Oliver said he definitely wouldn’t recommend the experience and cautioned against driving under the influence.
“It’s an expensive ordeal. But the costs are the least of it. For me it was having to go through that experience. I learned a lot about myself, and it challenged me to learn from within — to make sure I make better decisions in the future, which I am.”