Counselor Busted for Helping DUI Felon Get License

By John Lavitt 08/18/14

Richard Shelton has been accused of falsifying documents to help a three-time DUI felon get his driver's license back.

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As first reported by The Courier-Journal, a Kentucky alcohol counselor and owner of a counseling center has been arrested for falsifying documents to help a client convicted of DUI get a driver's license. Richard Shelton's actions nearly allowed a three-time convicted drunk driver to get his license reinstated months too soon, and without doing the necessary work to prove his rehabilitation.

Because of of his arrest, Shelton's certification as an alcohol abuse counselor has been revoked. Shelton ran Shelton Counseling in Fairdale, Ky., where he treated 36-year-old Dennis Saling, who pleaded guilty to a third drunk driving arrest on January 9. Saling was court-ordered to attend Shelton's facility, where he was to complete 52-weeks of treatment. Kentucky law mandates that defendants attend a year-long treatment program for a third DUI conviction.

But just five months after Saling enrolled, Shelton signed a completion form declaring that Saling had successfully finished the program in accordance with the law. Further documentation shows that Saling's signature, which appeared on the center's sign-in sheets, was misspelled.

Jefferson County District Court Judge David Holton said that he was “disturbed that an accredited alcohol treatment provider would submit a letter of completion (that was false)…I certainly believe that further steps should be taken to make sure this provider and others are not engaging in that activity."

"This is a perpetration of fraud on the court," Holton added. "The integrity of our judicial system is of utmost importance.”

Shelton's attorney claimed the program completion documents weren't faked, but just inaccurate on account of clerical mistakes made by Shelton Counseling employees.

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.