A Lehigh County judge sentenced former State Representative Joe Brennan to a mandatory 90 days in prison Thursday after he pleaded guilty to a charge of driving under the influence of alchohol.
Judge Maria Dantos also sentenced Brennan to 18 months' probation for simple assault stemming from the same incident when he struck his wife on Aug. 15 at their Fountain Hill home before driving away drunk. His blood-alcohol content measured 0.22 percent. The state's legal limit is 0.08 percent.
Brennan, who must also pay a $1,500 fine, will begin serving his sentence Monday in Lehigh County Prison.
Assistant District Attorney Stephen VanNatten said Brennan's wife, who did not attend the sentencing, did not want her husband to serve time in prison.
"She is going through a tough time and raising their two children on her own," he said.
Brennan, 48, who had asked to serve his sentence under house arrest in Dauphin County where he now lives, argued serving time in prison could jeopardize his new job, future employment and provide financial hardship.
"It's a hardship for every defendant who stands before me," Dantos said.
Dantos, who said it was a difficult case to sentence, said she would not generally give probation on an assault, but acknowledged the wife's request and Brennan's years of public service. Brennan will begin serving his 18-month probation in Lehigh County after he completes his prison term.
Dantos acknowledged Brennan's battle with alcoholism as a "lifetime problem and addiction" but that he "was well-equipped to secure treatment."
In imposing a prison sentence of a minimum of 90 days to 23 months maximum, Dantos said she must follow mandatory sentencing guidelines.