The Napa County District Attorney’s Office charged Paul Pelosi, a businessman and the husband of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), with a DUI on Thursday nearly a month after the incident in question.
Last month, on May 28th, Pelosi got into 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 was 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. Pelosi then agreed on an August 3rd Court date at the Napa County Superior Court.
Since then the question has been what, if anything, Pelosi would be charged with. A rumor in early June claimed that Pelosi was going to be let off, but those rumors were soon quashed by the Napa County DA and CHP. But on Thursday, the charges were officially announced, with Pelosi being charged with DUI causing injury misdemeanor charge. According to the DA’s office, the charge was set at a misdemeanor rather than a felony due to injuries suffered by the victim.
“The charges filed today include Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol Causing Injury and Driving With .08% Blood Alcohol Level or Higher Causing Injury,” said the Napa County DA’s office in a press release on Thursday. “Under California law, these charges can be filed as a misdemeanor or felony. Based upon the extent of the injuries suffered by the victim, the District Attorney filed misdemeanor charges. This decision is consistent with how our office handles these cases with similar injuries.”
Pelosi new faces up to five years of probation, at least 5 days in jail, installation of an ignition interlock device on his car, fines and fees, completion of a court ordered drinking driver class, and other terms to be set by the court in their ruling.
“Some people may complain that he is getting off light, but the Napa County DA is not playing favorites here. They are following the law to the T,” explained Luisa Vargas, a researcher who studies drunk driving incidents involving public figures, to the Globe on Thursday. “The law is clear that he is going to at least spend some time in jail automatically, and he is going to have a lot of other things racked up. It remains to be seen if they will go easy on him because he is the husband to Nancy, but on the surface it’s not looking too good for him. He’s going to face some consequences for what he did. Plus, even if they managed to give him a favorable ruling, more than favorable, that won’t look good for Pelosi in August about 3 months before the elections. So things are progressing.”
“And look, the man made a mistake, but he also crashed a car while drunk into someone else. We need to be fair here for the victim too. And the Napa County DA seems to be doing their job. Plus, you can bet Paul got an earful from Nancy about this, at least. Spouses always do.”
Pelosi is expected to be at his arraignment at Napa County Superior Court on August 3rd.
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