State Rep. Sharon Har won both a dismissal and an acquittal on Monday in an unusual pair of District Court decisions that cleared her of the charge of driving under the influence of an intoxicant.

After watching body camera footage and hearing testimony from two police officers and a city investigator, Judge Steven L. Hartley granted a request by Har’s lawyer Howard Luke that Har be acquitted. Luke was not required to put on a defense in the case.

Har, 52, was arrested on Feb. 22, 2021, after she was pulled over for driving in the wrong direction down one-way Beretania Street.

Har issued a public apology shortly after her arrest, saying she had a beer with dinner while she was also taking prescription cough medicine, which “contributed to my impaired driving.”

Rep Sharon Har floor session. 3 may 2016.
Democratic Rep. Sharon Har was acquitted of driving under the influence of an intoxicant after the judge ruled there was insufficient evidence to convict her. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Officers at the scene of the arrest said Har and her vehicle smelled of alcohol and she seemed to be impaired, but Har refused to take a breath or blood test.

Luke said Har “showed absolutely no sign of impairment” in the body camera video of the arrest, and in fact seemed to easily enter and exit police vehicles and balance comfortably in “very high heels” as she walked.

“I want there to be no question that Sharon Har was found not guilty, in addition to the dismissal,” he said.

Har was also charged with driving without motor vehicle insurance in the same incident, but that charge was dismissed on Dec. 6.

Hartley also approved a request from Luke that the drunken driving charge be dismissed “with prejudice,” meaning it cannot be refiled in the case.

That decision was based on a ruling last month by the state Supreme Court that has triggered dismissal of dozens of other misdemeanor cases on procedural grounds.

City Prosecutor Steve Alm issued a statement Monday that he was “very disappointed” in Hartley’s decision in the case, which began when officers saw Har’s car traveling the wrong way on one-way Beretania Street near Piikoi Street.

Alm indicated he planned to hold a press conference Tuesday afternoon to discuss the trial, which began on Dec. 6 and was continued until Monday.

Media reports of Har’s arrest triggered complaints from Michael Golojuch and his wife Carolyn Martinez Golojuch, who are the parents of Michael Golojuch Jr. The younger Golojuch ran against Har in the 2014 Democratic primary.

House Speaker Scott Saiki then created a special committee last year to review the complaints and the case and consider whether Har should be disciplined for her conduct. Har has been politically estranged from the current Democratic House leadership for years.

Saiki said in a text message Monday he needs to consult with other members of the House leadership to determine if the special committee will continue its work or be disbanded now that Har has been acquitted.

Luke said the judge’s decision to acquit Har is important. “I could easily conceive of the public believing that she got off on what they would consider some kind of a technicality, so I wanted the merits case of the case to be addressed by the court,” he said.

“He did find that even in the light most favorable to the prosecution, the case had not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” Luke said of Hartley’s ruling.

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