By Brian Maass

BACA COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– A judge in Baca County pleaded guilty on Friday afternoon to driving under the influence and careless driving following her arrest in January of this year.

Court records show the Prowers County Sheriff department arrested Judge Debra M. Gunkel for DUI on Jan. 14. Gunkel was appointed to the bench in 2010 by then Gov. Bill Ritter.

A police report obtained by CBS4 shows that Gunkel was driving a 2012 BMW X5 when she was stopped that night. She was given a blood test which registered a .137 according to the report.

Debra M. Gunkel (credit: Baca County)

The report provides no other narrative of why deputies stopped the Judge or what else transpired.

Prior to becoming a judge, Gunkel, 60, served as a prosecutor with the 16th Judicial District Attorney’s office and was in private practice.

Gunkel received a 24-month deferred sentence and was ordered to perform 48 hours of community service. She received a fine of $100 for the careless driving charge. A third charge of failure to display proof of insurance was dismissed by prosecutors.

CBS4 attempted to contact Gunkel through her attorney, but the call has not been returned.

CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass has been with the station more than 30 years uncovering waste, fraud and corruption. Follow him on Twitter @Briancbs4.


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