Judge Disagrees with Prosecutor, Reduces Fines for DUI Person Living In Car

By Sonam Hundal

SANTA BARBARA, CA –Judge Clifford R. Anderson here in Santa Barbara County Superior Court last week probably didn’t make the prosecutor happy, but he still reduced the fines for a woman involved in a DUI incident in August, and who is now living out of her car after an “abusive” relationship.

Deputy Public Defender Lauren Gartrell, representing “AG***” (Note: The Vanguard does not identify people in most misdemeanor cases), asked the judge to exonerate “any fines by custody at this time,” noting her client “has been, for a number of years, living in her car. She vacated the family home after a lengthy abusive relationship. She is not working [and therefore] is [living] on a fixed income.”

Deputy District Attorney Diane Dills, however, took issue with this request, stating that “because this is a DUI matter, it’s my understanding that the court typically never waives these fees and I do believe […] that it’s not appropriate to do so.”

Judge Anderson retorted that they “do on occasion give credit” and proceeded to take $200 off AG***’s fines, which are to be paid in full within the next six months.

AG*** was sentenced to complete a nine-month schooling program by Nov. 11, 2022. Judge Anderson stated that she must “obey all laws, don’t drive without a valid license, insurance, registration.” He added that, if she were to drive, there shouldn’t be “any measurable amount of alcohol in [her] system.” As per the accused’s probation, she is to abstain from alcohol for two years.

At this point, Gartrell let Judge Anderson know that “a proof of compliance for the four-hour online alcohol awareness course” needs to be set. The judge decided that that can be done on Jan. 14, 2022.

Gartrell’s last request was that her client’s pretrial release and SCRAM order were to be terminated. Judge Anderson replied, “Will do. You need to get your paperwork over to probation when you’re done.”

About The Author

Sonam Hundal is a senior at UCSB majoring in English with a special emphasis on creative writing. She is from Porterville, California and aspires to begin a career in law.

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