Undersheriff arrested for DUI, but not jailed

June 6, 2010


Atascadero Police arrested San Luis Obispo Undersheriff Steve Bolts for driving under the influence on El Camino Real near Del Rio Road on Saturday night at 8:30 p.m., according to the police log.

Bolts, 56, was booked at the Atascadero Police Department and then released with a citation. There were five driving under the influence and drunk in public arrests made on Friday and Saturday in Atascadero. Except for Bolts, all other arrestees were transported to San Luis Obispo County Jail, according to the police log.

In Atascadero, police either book and release or transport drunk drivers to jail, according to the police log.

Officers secured Bolts’ Ford truck and left it at the scene.

In 2004, Sheriff Pat Hedges created the second-in-command undersheriff position as part of a restructuring that put a buffer between the sheriff and his staff. Bolts said he plans to step down when a new sheriff takes over at the end of year.

According to sheriff insiders, Bolts has been running the department for Hedges.

“Hedges is gone most of the time and has Bolts do his work in his absence,” said one sheriff’s department employee who asked to remain anonymous.

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Where is the information of a call to the cops in the story? I don’t get it. If someone reported Mr. Bolts for whatever reason, as some report here, is sort of beside the point.

Frankly, I’m surprised they even made an arrest with all the boys in blue cooperation around here. But good for them, to follow the law and do what must be done.

The Tribune is reporting that someone called the police with a tip of a possible drunken driver.

“There were five driving under the influence and drunk in public arrests made on Friday and Saturday in Atascadero. Except for Bolts, all other arrestees were transported to San Luis Obispo County Jail”.

Simmer down folks, Bolts didn’t get any preferential treatment. The DIP’s legally have to be taken to jail. The very preponderance of the crime is based on the officers belief that these people are so intoxicated or high on something, as to be a danger to themselves and others. Likewise if a DUI driver is so drunk that he is falling down or if he gives the officer a bad time then they will take them to jail to sober up. Not all DUI drivers go to jail in fact, many don’t.

I personally know of people who have been stopped and arrested in Atascadero for DUI. Their BAC wasn’t terribly high, maybe a .10 and they co-operated with the officer. They were cited to appear in court and released to a sober driver. They were also allowed to make arrangements to have their cars picked up for them. This is NOT unusual. There is no reason to waste time driving these people down to the county jail. When they appear in court they will be given a mandatory 2 days in jail anyway. Those who did go to jail will receive credit for time served.

What too funny, is that Bolt’s can request community service in lieu of the jail time and Hedges has the last say on who gets community service. I wish Cortez was already elected because I bet he would make Bolts do his community service working at the Atascadero Zoo! Too Funny.


Your experience speaks well. You are absolutely correct.

I understand your point Cindy but just for the sake of looking right, in a cituation like this, you should at least book him at county and then maybe release, so it doesn’t appear any improprieties.

P.S. No I didn’t neg. ding you. ;-)

I just can’t find anything funny about a drunk driver, especially one who should know better. I couldn’t find your stated sobriety criteria of giving the officers a bad time in the vehicle code. The significance of this story would have been minimized had the APD done two simple things: 1. Book the suspected drunk driver into county jail, 2. Do a press release announcing that a high ranking public official had been arrested for DUI. Had that happened, there would be no concerns for the performance of the Atascadero PD and all of the focus would be on Bolts, where it belongs. But, those two decisions have cast a shadow upon the fairness and impartiality of an otherwise good organization.

Cindy is right… Of the 114 people arrested on suspicion of drunken driving over the past year, 86 were cited at department headquarters and then released, and 28 were taken to County Jail, Mulhall said.

I was delinquent on grammar day, so I don’t properly know how to quote from another article.

I also know someone that was arrested and released to me (a sober driver).

Oh yeah… that is from the Tribune online [so accuracy can be debated].

Unfortunately, the quote came from Mulhall who worked for Bolts and Hedges at the Sheriff’s Department for over 20 years. Do you think he is going to acknowledge that he treated this case different? The four others arrested that weekend went to county jail, not Undersheriff Bolts.


I have deleted a comment, it would have stayed, but for: Smudges – monkey brigade

name calling misuse+ comparisons to animals

Keep it Civil, thanks.

To blame his soon to be ex wife (or anyone else) for his violating the law is absurd. Did you forget that drunk drivers KILL PEOPLE? Have you not seen the signs on the freeway “Report Drunk Drivers, Call 911?” Drunk driving is an emergency situation that requires prompt action. I would like to shake the hand of the caller and congratulate them for potentially saving a persons’ life. That saved life could have been your husband, your child or even his twins.

Mr. Bolts has a problem and ignored the responsibilities associated with drinking alcohol. His position of authority as Under Sheriff has certainly exposed him to the negative impact drunk driving has on the community, yet he chose to ignore that.

What part of fair and equal treatment under the law does Chief Mulhall not understand? Everyone else arrested for alcohol related offenses this weekend were booked into the county jail. Bolts is not above the law and should have been booked. This isn’t rocket science.

There appears to be a pattern of selective enforcement created within the Atascadero Police Department wherein they don’t arrest burglars if it might embarrass the Paso Chief, fail to charge the deputy sheriff who crashed into five cars while under the influence of pills and now release his friend and former boss with a ticket. Is that the standard of leadership the citizens of Atascadero want from their police chief? If so, I will stay far away from there even if they do have new movie theaters that serve alcohol.

What has become very clear is the answer to a standing question as to why local law enforcement has refused to conduct random drug and alcohol testing of their public safety personnel. Burying your heads in the sand will never fix the problem.

I do feel bad for the unfortunate officer who made the DUI stop of Bolts. It looks like he or she were trying to keep our streets safe only to be instructed to bend the protocol for the Chief’s buddy. Bolts should get to his office early this morning to pack his stuff and move out but save the boxes for Mulhall who should be next.

Sorry soccer mom, you can call this a setup or whatever you want. He was drunk driving period. His vehicle should have gone to impound and he should have gone to jail. Too bad if he would have gotten his butt kicked in there. He should be held to a higher standard. Many people go to prison or jail and have things happen to them that they do not deserve ie. beatings, rape, etc. Additionally you soccer moms, what if he would have driven off and killed someone? Would you have then said, “We should have stopped him?”

I bit more to this story than meets the eye…. can you say “set up” by soon to be ex wife… the anonymous phone call just happened to be called in after he was leaving a farewell soccer party for his twins… with the bitter wife there also par taking of beverages…. humm… sounds a little too convenient to make a call and let the cops know when and where to find this truck and this driver….just a fraction of a mile from the same “soccer party” .Don’t judge until the whole story comes out…. Steve Bolts is a nice man… and deserves better than this muck… Shame on you “other soccer mom’s” that supported this act….. you are not fooling anyone…

Well that’s all fine and good.. and if this happened to me, and I told that story to the cop, what do you think he would say? I’ll tell you what he’d say, “well that is unfortunate but you broke the law.”

So did his ex wife also hold open his mouth and force all that booze down his gullet?? That would be interesting to see as I meet steve on business 15 years ago and he isn’t a small man.

There are all kinds of nice people arrested every day for d.u.i. so what is your lame point?

Sorry soccerm, Bolts does apparently does deserve this muck and the public deserves to be safe from drunk drivers.

The phrase 3 sides to every story certainly applies here. I know Steve Bolts to be a good man, a loving father and always willing to help those in times of need. He and his children do not deserve this. This was a sting executed by a spouse and “friends” that targeted him. Could just as easily been anyone of the other parents who consumed at least one alcoholic beverage at the bar-b-que. And I saw many of these “friends” do just that. Drinking and driving is wrong… but I know many of these same group of people that have done just that…. And so have many of you that are judge and jury on this site…. So cast those stones and let Karma bite you…

This may very well be karma itself. You know Bolts as a nice man but he has deliberately ruined many careers. Did you forget about him and Hedges wiretapping the #3 man’s office and loosing in Federal Court? Did you know that he covered up the murder, yes Murder of Ms. Hug? Oh, did you know he was, and still is in charge of the Christen Smart case which has blocked the family attempts for information. How about the union rep who was boinking the county assistant CAO. Bolts did nothing to that man. Bolts left his first five for the current soon to be ex who is the same age as his daughter. And finally, working all of the loopholes to squeeze $700,000 a year out of the county tells me this man is not honorable. I think you are right, this is karma.

Typo shoud be first wife.

So do I understand this right. Five D.U.I.s, four go to the can and Bolts go’s home!!???

This sounds like the same B.S. with the Capt. of the C.H.P. last year in Templeton.

Are cops that much above the law? Yea I know the answer, just a frustrated retorical question.

So the score so far in the last year, table top dancing chiefs leaving guns in car

SLO cops breaking up Laundry mats in A-Town.

SLO cops (I think) prying open innocent suspects eyes and pepper spraying in own home (and innocent I might add).

Drunk cops going home and not to jail for the night, both sheriff and C.H.P.

Cops not wanting to respond to Jewelry stores (must have been busy drinking)

Busting penny annie dope at Pozo festival

Dynamic pill popping duo at the Mexican border.

Well I better stop here the list could get to long. Please feel free to add your own.

Can anyone say police commission yet??

Don’t forget the Morro Bay policewoman fired for taking up with a bunch of meth heads in town, oh excuse me, she didn’t compete her probation…

This guy is such a waste of oxygen. He and his boss have run a once good department into the ground.

Yet another Parkinson fan bites the dust …… Pity !


Steve Bolts likes:


Ian Parkinson

The Joycup Co

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department

Miner’s Ace Hardware

Bolts and Parkinson scare me to death and gives insight into what could have been a dismal future for the Sheriff’s Department. It is funny how Parkinson went from on top of the world with his Drama 101 style TV ads to being a dirty household word in just a few short weeks. He actually did really well until he opened his mouth. I wonder if Chief Linden is still as proud of her little cutie pie?

Your sooooooooooooooooooooo RIGHT ON.

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