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Fmr. Hennepin Co. Commissioner Mike Opat charged with DWI after traffic stop in Dayton

DAYTON, Minn. — Former longtime Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat faces DWI charges following a traffic stop Wednesday night.

According to Hennepin County court documents, the 61-year-old from Robbinsdale faces third- and fourth-degree DWI charges, both misdemeanors. The third-degree charge notes that he allegedly refused to submit to a breath test.


Hennepin County

Opat was pulled over shortly before 10 p.m. in Dayton, Minnesota after a police officer observed him fail to make a full and complete stop at a stop sign. The complaint says the officer could smell a strong odor of alcohol coming from Opat, who had bloodshot and watery eyes, and “appeared unsteady on his feet.”

Opat allegedly admitted to having a few drinks before driving.

According to the complaint, Opat agreed to submit to a preliminary breath test, which showed a result of .093 BAC. He also agreed to a vision-based test and the officer allegedly observed “clues of impairment.”

RELATED: Mike Opat to Leave Hennepin County Board (2020)

Opat was then arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence. He then allegedly agreed to take a breath test, but later said he changed his mind, and refused to take the test.

Opat’s first court appearance was set for 9:30 a.m. As of 10:30 a.m., he was listed as in custody, according to Hennepin County Jail records.

The third-degree DWI charge has a maximum penalty of one year of incarceration and/or a $3,000 fine. 

In 2020, Opat left his position as Hennepin County Commissioner two months before the end of his term. In 1992, he was elected to the Hennepin County Board, and was re-elected seven times. He was elected to the chair of the county board nine times.

Source: CBS Minnesota

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