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Democrat running for Congress sentenced after DUI in Georgia

Steven Foster.png
Images: Whitfield Co. Sheriff's Dept./MGN

DALTON, Ga. (WTVC) - UPDATE (August 14):

Conasauga Circuit District Attorney Bert Poston confirms that Steven Lamar Foster, a candidate for Congress, has been sentenced to six months in jail after his conviction for driving under the influence in 2017.

Poston says Foster's sentence will be followed by six months on probation.

See dashcam video of the arrest below.

Foster is challenging Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Graves in the November election.

Right now, Foster is still on the ballot.


ORIGINAL STORY (August 10):

A candidate for Congress has been jailed in Georgia while he awaits sentencing for a drunken-driving conviction.

Steven Lamar Foster, 61, of Dalton is a former physician running as a Democrat for northwest Georgia's 14th District. He's challenging Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Graves in the November election.

Foster got sidelined from campaigning Monday when a jury convicted him of driving under the influence, according to Whitfield County Superior Court records. The judge ordered Foster jailed without bond until his sentencing hearing next week.

Even without a criminal conviction, Foster would be considered a longshot for the congressional seat Graves has held since 2010. President Donald Trump easily carried the 14th District in 2016. Graves ran unopposed in the last two elections. When he last defended his seat against a Democratic challenger in 2012, Graves won with 73 percent of the vote.

Foster signed up to challenge Graves in March, nearly six months after his DUI arrest. Foster's campaign website bemoans voters' distrust of government — "and they especially don't trust our congressmen."

Foster was arrested Sept. 23 after police pulled over his silver Mercedes in Dalton, near the Georgia-Tennessee state line. A Dalton police report says Foster was stopped because he was driving with his headlights off after dark.

"Steven made the statement that he had not been drunk since 1981 and I could give him a breath test if I wanted to," the police report said. "I asked Steven why I would need to give him a breath test."

Foster told the officer he drank two or three beers about three hours earlier. The report said he swayed and stumbled during a field sobriety test. He then agreed to a breath test, which showed his blood alcohol content was .103. That's above the legal limit of .08.

Foster's attorney, Richard Murray, did not immediately return a phone message Thursday. The two-page accusation and verdict document from the court does not indicate any prior DUI offenses for Foster. In Georgia, DUI is a misdemeanor until the fourth offense. First-time offenders face possible prison sentences of 10 days to a year.

Foster described himself as a "physician entrepreneur" on his qualifying paperwork for the congressional race. State records show Foster's medical license expired at the end of 2003.

The Composite State Board of Medical Examiners suspended Foster's medical license indefinitely in October 2002, citing concerns that he was "unable to practice medicine with reasonable skill and safety to patients due to a psychiatric disorder."