Former MSU Police Capt. Pleads Guilty Following Drunk Driving Arrest

Agency: Attorney General

Media contact: Lynsey Mukomel 517-599-2746
Public inquiries: 517-335-7622


August 31, 2021

LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel today announced Valerie O'Brien, a former captain with the Michigan State University Police Department, pleaded guilty as charged to operating a motor vehicle with a high blood alcohol content (BAC) and carrying a concealed pistol while under the influence. 

Monday afternoon before Ingham County 55th District Court Judge Richard L. Hillman, O'Brien pleaded guilty to: 

  • one count of operating a motor vehicle with a high blood alcohol content (BAC), a 180-day misdemeanor; and 
  • one count of carrying a concealed pistol under the influence with a BAC of 0.10 or more, a 93-day misdemeanor. 

Judge Hillman sentenced O'Brien to the following terms: 

  • one year of probation; 
  • pay a $700 fine and $1,295 in fees and costs; 
  • complete 40 hours of community service by the end of the year; 
  • complete counselling; 
  • apologize to the arresting office for her behavior; and 
  • O'Brien may not consume alcohol or drugs without a prescription, leave the state without court permission, or possess a dangerous weapon. 

In February, O'Brien was arrested after failing a field sobriety test and refusing a preliminary breath test (PBT).  She had pulled onto the shoulder of I-96 and the Michigan State Police inquired if she needed assistance. 

MSP reported a blood test later showed she had a BAC of 0.251. 

O'Brien's police-issued pistol was in the back seat of her car at the time of arrest. 

Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Seimon petitioned for a Special Prosecuting Attorney after the arrest and the Michigan Department of Attorney General retained prosecution of this case. 

"Those who vow to protect and serve must ensure they're upholding that oath through their own conduct," Nessel said. 

Questions related to O'Brien's employment status with MSU PD should be directed to the police department. 

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