Newly-elected Santa Fe judge pleads not guilty to DWI, other charges

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SANTA FE, N.M. — A Santa Fe County magistrate judge pleaded not guilty Wednesday morning to charges he faces for an alleged drunk driving incident.

Santa Fe police arrested Judge Dev Atma Khalsa early Sunday and charged him with DWI. Khalsa now also faces charges of reckless driving and driving without a license. 

During his hearing Wednesday, Khalsa said he understood the charges and agreed to plead not guilty.

Khalsa faces charges after police say he drove drunk and crashed his car on I-25 near the Saint Francis Drive exit.

Officers allegedly smelled alcohol and saw he had slurred speech. Police say Khalsa denied drinking and refused a blood test. However, it wasn’t completed since he was taken to the hospital.

Khalsa was elected in November, campaigning on accountability, and issues he called priorities, like DWI.

Since January, he has heard about a dozen cases related to DWI for things like revoked licenses.

If Khalsa is convicted, he faces 90 days in jail, a $999 fine and one year of probation. His next appearance is March 29.