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Cass County Courthouse

PLATTSMOUTH – A Plattsmouth man pled guilty to three criminal charges Monday morning for his involvement in a DUI accident near Murray.

Joseph M. Hofler, 31, accepted a plea bargain during an appearance in Cass County District Court. He pled guilty to one Class IIIA felony charge of driving under the influence of alcohol-.15+-third offense. He also entered guilty pleas to a Class I misdemeanor charge of obstructing a peace officer and a Class II misdemeanor of no proof of financial responsibility.

The state agreed to dismiss seven additional charges against Hofler in exchange for the guilty pleas. The plea bargain contained no recommendations regarding sentencing.

Deputy County Attorney Steven Sunde told the court a Cass County Sheriff’s Office deputy was dispatched to a location on Highway 1 just west of Murray on Feb. 9. Authorities learned a single vehicle had crashed into a ditch off the road.

The deputy arrived on scene and saw Hofler exit the car in the ditch. Sunde said Hofler fled into a field after the deputy told him to stop. A short pursuit took place in the field before the deputy found Hofler attempting to hide in a snowdrift.

Sunde said Hofler refused to listen to the deputy’s orders when he was in the snowdrift. Sunde said the deputy then drew his gun because it was at nighttime and he was unsure what Hofler’s next actions would be. The deputy was eventually able to detain Hofler.

Sunde said Hofler was unable to walk back to the car without staggering and had a strong odor of alcohol on him. The deputy found several open containers of alcohol in Hofler’s vehicle. Hofler did not have any proof of insurance in his car.

The deputy transported Hofler to Cass County Jail for driving under the influence of alcohol. Sunde said Hofler refused to take a chemical breath test at the jail and argued with authorities there.

Hofler had been serving a 36-month probation sentence at the time of the accident. He had started his probation in July 2018 for a Class IV felony charge of possession of controlled substance-methamphetamine.

Hofler’s two previous DUI offenses came in November 2006 in Cass County and September 2013 in Sarpy County. He was also charged with driving under suspension five times from 2016 to 2018.

Hofler remains in Cass County Jail. The court ordered him to obtain a chemical dependency evaluation while he is in jail. A sentencing hearing will take place June 3.

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