Fresno Defendant Pursues Jury Trial for DUI Charges While Most Take Plea Deals


By Cailin Garcia

FRESNO — In Judge William Terrance’s courtroom in Fresno County Superior Court this week, Defendant Dominik Herrold was the only defendant who chose to take his DUI case to trial rather than take a plea deal from the prosecutor.

Herrold is being charged with two misdemeanors: driving under influence while blood alcohol level is 0.08 percent or more and driving under the influence of alcohol. He was arrested almost one year ago in December of 2019.

Currently, Herrold is pleading not guilty to both charges.

“Mr. Herrold wishes to proceed to a jury trial,” said Herrold’s Assistant Public Defender Eduardo Cortez when Judge Terrance asked about the status of the case.

“Is there a current offer of the People?” asked Judge Terrance.

“Yes, your Honor. The offer is a Count 1.14, which will be revoked today,” said Deputy District Attorney Albert Aramayo.

The defense did not present a counter offer, but Cortez said, “We would ask if the offer could be kept open in case this could be resolved prior to the jury trial.”

“But this court did hear that the People did indicate the offer is being revoked today if the matter is confirmed for trial. Mr. Herrold, sir, is it your intention today to not accept the People’s offer at this time?” asked Judge Terrance.

“Yes, your Honor,” Herrold responded.

Herrold’s jury trial is scheduled to take place on Nov. 14 at 8:30 a.m. in Department 1.

Herrold’s decision to go to trial stood out because several other defendants with similar charges to Herrold’s chose to take plea deals that same morning.

Defendant Daniel Figueroa, for example, was being charged with the same two misdemeanors as Herrold: driving under influence while blood alcohol level is 0.08 percent or more and driving under the influence of alcohol.

Assisted by certified Spanish interpreter Roberto Blanco, Figueroa appeared in court to change his plea.

“Your Honor, we have reached a resolution in this matter. At this time, Mr. Figueroa will be withdrawing his previously entered not guilty plea and will be entering a no contest plea to an amended Count one for a wet reckless. Count two will be dismissed in light of that plea,” said Figueroa’s public defender Crystal Johnson.

Figueroa confirmed to Judge Terrance that he went over all the details of the plea with a certified Spanish interpreter and was not promised anything or threatened into taking the plea.

As a result of the plea agreement, Figueroa has been placed under three years of informal misdemeanor probation.

“You are ordered to serve 90 days in the Fresno County Jail, all of which are stayed. You are ordered to pay a fine of $853, which includes penalty assessments and fees in this matter,” said Judge Terrance.

Figueroa will also be required to attend and complete the Wet Reckless 12 Hour alcohol and drug program.

“While this is not a DUI in violation of Vehicle Code section 23152, this wet reckless conviction goes on both your court record and DMV record as an alcohol-related driving offense. Should you later be arrested for and charged with another DUI, this conviction will count as a prior conviction and will be used to enhance that sentence,” stated Judge Terrance.

Figueroa accepted all terms of his probation and the plea deal.

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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