Feb. 26—Police arrested Santa Fe County Magistrate Dev Atma Khalsa on fees of aggravated driving whereas intoxicated and driving with an expired license early Sunday morning.
In keeping with a police report, Santa Fe police responded to a single-vehicle roll over crash on Interstate 25 northbound on the St. Francis Drive exit.
“Upon arrival, officers discovered Mr. Khalsa standing exterior his car,” Santa Fe Deputy Chief Matthew Champlin wrote in an electronic mail late Sunday.
The car — described as a silver Toyota 4Runner — appeared to have left the roadway and are available to relaxation on its driver’s facet in a ditch.
“Officers initially spoke on scene with Mr. Khalsa earlier than medical personnel transported him to the hospital for analysis,” Champlin wrote. “The investigating officer reported Mr. Khalsa had an odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from his breath and noticeably slurred speech. Mr. Khalsa was additionally discovered to have an expired driver’s license of Feb. 24, 2023. As soon as on the hospital, the identical observations had been made … with the addition of bloodshot watery eyes.”
Khalsa informed an officer “I’ve had nothing to drink,” in keeping with a prison grievance. Whereas on the hospital Khalsa turned uncooperative and refused to be medically assessed, the grievance says.
“Mr. Khalsa was learn the New Mexico Implied Consent Act and was requested to submit to check of his blood; nevertheless he refused,” Champlin wrote. “Below New Mexico state legislation, refusal to undergo a chemical take a look at elevates the prison charge to an “aggravated” charge.
Champlain mentioned in a follow-up telephone dialog the charge could also be downgraded to a “easy DWI” as a result of it is unclear if the officer requested Khalsa for a breath pattern earlier than asking — on the hospital — for Khalsa’s blood to be drawn. Below state legislation police cannot search a search warrant for a suspect’s blood until the arrest is said to “a fourth or subsequent” DWI charge, Champlain mentioned.
Khalsa does not seem to have every other DWI fees on his document, Champlin mentioned, which might make Sunday’s charge his first.
Khalsa — who started his first time period as a Santa Fe County Magistrate only a few months in the past — was booked round 5:24 a.m. and launched simply after 3 p.m. Sunday in keeping with the Santa Fe County jail web site.
It was unclear Sunday which choose licensed Khalsa’s launch.
A jail reserving picture exhibits Khalsa — a Sikh who usually wears a turban — wearing a khaki-colored jumpsuit with out the headwear.
Khalsa didn’t reply to a voicemail message searching for remark for this story.
Champlin mentioned he is undecided if the division’s officers acknowledged Khalsa or knew he was a magistrate, however that the supervising sergeant appeared unaware of Khalsa’s place when he briefed by Champlin in response to The New Mexican’s inquiry.
Khalsa beat out three opponents to win the Democratic major for his put up in June and was unopposed within the November common election. Earlier than changing into a magistrate he labored as a prosecutor within the First Judicial District Lawyer’s Workplace.
Khalsa informed The New Mexican whereas campaigning he was born and raised in Virginia and might hint his roots “again to the second boat.” He described himself as an “indignant younger man” however mentioned that modified when he acquired hit by a automobile in school and suffered a severe again damage, which led him to hunt therapeutic via Kundalini yoga.
Khalsa mentioned he got here to New Mexico in 2005 to pursue coaching on the Sikh group exterior Española. This prompted him to make some life adjustments, and he returned to New Mexico to review at St. John’s School.
After graduating, he mentioned, he hung out in numerous locations throughout the US and “meant to wander extra,” however saved returning to New Mexico and determined to attend legislation college right here.
Whereas campaigning, Khalsa confirmed he was charged with vandalism whereas an undergrad on the School of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., in 1998.
He initially refused to reveal the act that led to the charge, saying it was “embarrassing and irrelevant,” however later mentioned he took the blame after he and others set a chair on hearth as a prank.
His time in jail would mood any intuition to carelessly incarcerate somebody, he mentioned within the 2022 interview.