An Arapahoe County judge issued an arrest warrant Tuesday for John Bowlen – the son of Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen – amid allegations his weekend arrest on drunken driving charges violated his probation in a 2015 domestic violence case, 9Wants to Know has learned.
The younger Bowlen was arrested Sunday afternoon in San Luis Obispo County on two counts of driving while under the influence of alcohol, a misdemeanor.
Although he was freed after posting $5,000 in bail, he faces potentially serious legal ramifications in Colorado as a result of his conviction in a domestic violence case in Arapahoe County.
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A message left at the office of John Bowlen’s attorney, Harvey Steinberg, was not immediately returned Tuesday afternoon.
The Broncos had no comment.
The latest legal scrape – coming less than 18 months after the domestic violence conviction – could prevent John Bowlen from ever taking a leadership position with the team his father bought in 1984.
In the domestic violence case, he shoved his girlfriend against a bathroom wall as she was trying to dial 9-1-1.
At his sentencing April 14, 2016, Arapahoe County Judge Darren Louis Vahle placed John Bowlen on probation for two years. The probation didn’t actually start until Bowlen exhausted his appeal – which occurred March 27 when the Colorado Supreme Court declined to hear the case.
According to the warrant issued Tuesday obtained by 9Wants to Know, Vahle concluded that the California arrest was one of five ways John Bowlen had violated the terms of his conviction of a domestic violence charge:
- Bowlen was required to “abide by all local, state and federal laws” and notify his probation officer of any contacts with law enforcement. According to the warrant, his arrest by California Highway Patrol officers was a violation of that provision.
- Bowlen was required to regularly report to his probation officer. According to the warrant, Bowlen has not contacted his probation officer since losing his appeal.
- Bowlen was required to complete 24 hours of community service and pay fines totaling $1,287.50. According to the warrant, the court has been unable to verify that he performed the public service and the fines have not been paid.
- Bowlen was ordered to undergo domestic violence, drug and alcohol, and mental health evaluations and treatment. According to the warrant, Bowlen’s probation officer has been unable to verify that he did that.
- Bowlen was ordered to obtain permission from the court or his probation officer before leaving Colorado. According to the warrant, he did not have permission to be in California.
The warrant includes bail of $1,287.50 – cash only.
Since Pat Bowlen announced in July 2014 he has Alzheimer’s disease, ownership of the Broncos has been placed in the Pat Bowlen Trust, with trustee and team chief executive officer Joe Ellis having full authority to run the franchise.
The trust states that Pat Bowlen’s desire is for one of his seven children to earn the right to become the Broncos’ controlling owner.
John Bowlen has legal troubles going back more than a decade – which could come into play when it’s time to decide who will ultimately control the Broncos.
According to court records, John Bowlen was charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia in 2004 in Arapahoe County, but both charges were eventually dismissed.
The next year he was arrested in Boulder on charges he was drunk and driving the wrong way on a one-way street. Court records show he was convicted of driving while his ability was impaired by alcohol.
Then came the 2015 domestic violence charge.
In that case, according to court documents, Bowlen’s girlfriend became alarmed when he “made comments to kill someone he had prior contact with.” The woman went into a bathroom to call 9-1-1. That’s when John Bowlen “forcefully grabbed her shoulders and shoved her against a wall,” then took her phone.
John Bowlen got on the line, mumbled, and hung up. After a dispatcher called back, Bowlen said he was the “blood of the city” and a “friend of the mayor” and said, “this is the owner of the Denver Broncos. I am sorry K. Nothing is wrong.”
When Judge Vahle sentenced Bowlen, he made a notation in the court file: “If there is a violation of probation jail will be imposed.”
Contact 9NEWS reporter Kevin Vaughan with tips about this or any story: email@example.com or 303-871-1862.