Paul Pelosi, a businessman and husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), pled guilty to a DUI charge in Napa County Superior Court on Tuesday, receiving, among other punishments in a plea deal, 5 days in jail.
During Memorial Day weekend in May, Pelosi was in a car accident in Oakville. According to a California Highway Patrol (CHP) press release, his Porsche struck a Jeep at the intersection of State Route 29 and Walnut Lane a little after 10 P.M. Although neither of the drivers were injured, and the Jeep driver was not arrested, Pelosi was tested for driving under the influence. The CHP, with Napa County DA confirmation, found that Pelosi’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level was at .082%, just above the .08% legal limit in California., when a blood sample was taken two hours after the crash.
Pelosi, who was alone, with Speaker Pelosi in Rhode Island to give a commencement address at Brown University, was then booked early on Sunday morning with bail being set at $5,000. The bail was subsequently paid, with Pelosi leaving the County jail at around 7:30 A.M. In June, Pelosi was officially charged with a DUI causing injury misdemeanor by the Napa County DA’s office, with it being a misdemeanor rather than a felony due to no injuries suffered by the victim.
This led to Pelosi’s plea deal on Tuesday in Napa. Pelosi, who did not attend the court meeting on Tuesday due to state law allowing an attorney to go in their place if a DUI is a misdemeanor, received 5 days in jail, a mandatory 3-month long DUI program, one year with an ignition interlock device attached in his car, three years probation, and nearly $7,000 in fines. However, four of the five days in jail were cancelled by Napa County Superior Court Judge Joseph Solga due to two coming from previous time served immediately following his arrest in May and two from conduct credits. The final day in jail will, according to the plea, be an 8-hour work program.
Napa County Deputy District Attorney Aimee McLeod agreed to the probation terms along with Pelosi’s lawyer, Amanda Bevins. However, McLeod did note that the driver of the car whom was hit by Pelosi has been receiving medical treatment from a chiropractor ever since the accident. However, the incident was not upgraded to a felony due to Pelosi paying both immediate restitution for the injuries, as well as paying to replace his totaled car.
Paul Pelosi’s DUI plea deal
“For a case like this, this is somewhat a typical outcome,” explained Luisa Vargas, a researcher who studies drunk driving incidents involving public figures, to the Globe on Tuesday. “We’ve had celebrities and other notable figures get real jail time for DUIs, or at least after the fact for probation violation, but just like everyone else, more notable people get around the same sentences.
“A lot of people will be upset that he isn’t spending any real time in jail, but look at all the other punishments. He has to have an interlock device on his car now, which means essentially means he has to pass a breathalyzer attached to his car every time he wants to use it. That is a huge pain for people just trying to get anywhere. He has the DUI program, which some people have called worse than summer school, because its boring and you have to go over the dangers over and over again. Plus it’s humiliating, especially for public figures like Pelosi, as well as demeaning.
“The big thing is three years probation though. He breaks that, then he really is going to see the inside of a cell for real time. People like him have money, and easily paid the fines and costs to the other driver for his car and injuries. But probation, along with the other things? It means that he will now have to significantly alter his life for quite some time and will make every day things a hassle.
“Should he have gotten a felony for this? Maybe. But his life will be a humiliation filled hassle for a good while, and that’s if he stays clean. We’ll see if he does so.”
As of Tuesday morning, Paul Pelosi has not yet given a statement on the plea.
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