DFL state Rep. Curran pleads guilty to drunk driving charge

A woman in a black jacket smiles for a photo
Rep. Brion Curran, Minnesota House District 36B.
Courtesy photo

DFL state Rep. Brion Curran has pleaded guilty to a fourth-degree DWI charge, according to court papers filed this week ahead of a hearing.

Curran, 38, was charged in Chisago County in October. The lawmaker was arrested along Interstate 35 near Harris after authorities responded to reports of an erratic driver. Curran’s blood-alcohol level registered 0.16 percent, twice the legal limit.

The petition to plead guilty on Tuesday came ahead of a court hearing on Wednesday. Judge Catherine Trevino approved it.

“I accept responsibility for driving under the influence of alcohol,” Curran said in a statement Thursday. “I regret my decisions and I am sincerely grateful that no one was hurt.”

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Curran said that since October they have been participating in a program on the dangers of drunk driving. If the plea is approved, Curran will be required to pay a fine and attend a victim impact program.

“I want to thank the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office for ensuring my safety and the safety of others. I know that trust is earned and, once broken, is difficult to repair,” they said.  “I’m sorry for the decisions I made, and by pleading guilty, I accept full responsibility.”

The first-term state lawmaker represents an area that includes Vadnais Heights and White Bear Lake. Curran has have degrees in law enforcement and served as a Chisago County deputy, the same county where they were charged with the DWI. They left that job after suffering post-traumatic stress disorder.

According to the criminal complaint, a sheriff's deputy responded to reports of an erratic driver and found Curran driving a damaged SUV on the northbound shoulder near Harris just after 2 a.m. on Oct. 9.

After stopping, Curran allegedly told the deputy they were having trouble getting home and thought they were in St. Paul — 50 miles from Harris. The complaint alleges they told officers they had consumed three drinks. 

Curran was one of three state lawmakers arrested on suspicion of drunk driving last year. DFLer Dan Wolgamott of St. Cloud and Republican Matt Grossell of Clearbook both pleaded guilty to DWI charges.

Correction (Jan. 25, 2024): This story has been updated to include Brion Curran's preferred pronouns.