By Natalia R.
RIVERSIDE, CA –Riverside County Superior Court Judge Steven Counelis urged a man to “take care of business” after the driver’s three-year probation sentence was extended by the judge to a full eight years under court supervision.
Judge Counelis began with the arraignment of the accused by asking the accused if he wanted to represent himself in court, and he assured the judge that he was seeking to represent himself.
Judge Counelis then asked, “Do you understand all the rights you’re giving up?” The accused proceeded to say, “I think so.”
To this response, Judge Counelis seemed to sense the man’s unease and reiterated the inquiry if he was sure about his decision to stand pro per, to represent himself—even though he would be giving up his right to counsel, which could be free if he could not afford one.
When asked by Judge Counelis about a violation of probation form that was signed by the accused, he admitted to violating his previous probation terms. Judge Counelis stated that probation would be reinstated and is to be in place until Aug. 15, 2023.
While the warrant out for the accused was recalled as a result of being placed on probation, Judge Counelis added the accused is to enroll in AB 541 DUI (driving under the influence) classes, a three-month program for those convicted of a first time DUI or an extended time for those with more than one offense. He must enroll in these classes by March 17, and no later than Aug. 15.
Judge Counelis noted the man was to begin probation originally in Aug. 2015, as the violation of Vehicle Code section 23152(a) that he was charged with was in April of 2015. Additionally, the judge noted, “You should have been done with it by August 2018.”
“I know stuff happens in people’s lives, I get that. On the other hand, as a result of what’s happened it’s now been extended until 2023. You (made) a three-year case into an eight-year case and that’s not a good idea,” stated Judge Counelis.
In an attempt to get the driver to enroll in the program ahead of time and follow the terms of probation, Judge Counelis said, “Probation is like an anchor around your neck and only you, only you can take care of that business.”
Judge Counelis urged the man to sign up for the DUI classes before the time he gave him, saying, “I don’t want you to be one of those people, and you’re bordering on it now, who has been on probation for 12 or 15 years.”