The Democratic candidate for Lake County circuit court clerk has three arrests and one conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol in the past 20 years, she noted on a Daily Herald candidate questionnaire.
Rupam Dave said she has learned from her mistakes, and hopes to become a champion against drinking and driving. Her last DUI arrest was seven years ago.
"It was a very rotten thing to do," Dave said in an interview. "It is something I deeply regret in my past, and something I stand firmly against today."
Dave, an attorney from Grayslake, is facing off on the Nov. 6 ballot against Keith Brin, a Republican from Highland Park who is chief deputy of the circuit clerk's office.
Republican Sally Coffelt, the incumbent, is not seeking re-election.
Dave was added to the ballot in June after Cynthia Pruim Haran dropped out of the race for personal reasons.
The Lake County circuit court clerk is the keeper and protector of all civil, criminal and other court records. The full-time position is primarily based out of the Waukegan court house.
Dave noted the DUI arrests when answering the Daily Herald questionnaire, which includes asking each candidate if they have ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime. Court records confirm Dave's admission.
Dave said she received supervision for her first DUI in 1993 after she was pulled over near Long Grove by the Lake County sheriff's police.
She also said she was stopped for not wearing a seat belt and suspicion of DUI in Gurnee in January 2005, but refused to take a Breathalyzer test administered to her by police. That refusal, she said, resulted in an automatic suspension of her drivers license for six months between March and September 2005. The DUI for the January arrest was later dismissed in court, she said.
While her license was suspended, Dave was pulled over by Grayslake Police and cited for DUI in June 2005. She later pleaded guilty to that charge, she said, which resulted in her license being suspended for three years.
Dave said the three DUI arrests were the only times in the past 20 years she consumed alcohol. She said she has never undergone alcohol treatment.
"Those were the only days I have had alcohol since 1993. It isn't part of our daily or spiritual lives," she said. "I don't drink and my family doesn't consume alcohol. These instances were three distinct situations where something bad was taking place in my life."
During the first arrest, she was going through a divorce, she said, and she was dealing with a gravely ill family member during the second and third DUI arrests.
"It is something that I regret deeply and something I have personally been working against as a lawyer," she said. "And, if I'm elected, I would stand up and assist people to try and stop this from happening to them. I would be a spokesman against the issue of drinking and driving."
State Sen. Terry Link, the head of the Lake County Democratic Party, said he knew of the 2005 DUI conviction but stressed that it shouldn't preclude her from running for office.
"It's been seven years, she doesn't drink now and she made a mistake," Link said. "There is no question that DUIs are bad and that people should not have one. She made a mistake, but she was open and honest about it, and has since moved on. End of story."
Dave added she "chose to bring this out in order to help other people that may have an issue with alcohol and driving."
"Sometimes, people consume alcohol and they don't realize that they have had too much," she said. "Those people will be just above the legal limit and have not eaten enough. Well, I'm here to say that it's not good enough and people shouldn't drive in that situation."
Brin refused to comment about Dave's DUI arrests. He answered "no" to the Daily Herald question about whether he had any criminal arrests or convictions.
The Daily Herald began asking political candidates about their criminal histories following the media's failure to thoroughly investigate Chicago pawnbroker Scott Lee Cohen before he became the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in 2010.
After Cohen won the nomination, the public learned he had been accused of abusing his ex-wife and holding a knife to the throat of an ex-girlfriend, which led to criminal charges that eventually were dropped.
Cohen bowed to political pressure and quit the ticket.