By Mihajla Milovanovic and Tommy Nguyen
VENTURA, CA – Early this week, during his sentencing hearing, a young man pleaded guilty to his felony-reduced-to-misdemeanor DUI charges after a judge considered his personal situation.
The accused—not identified by The Vanguard because the eventual crime was not a felony—was on for sentencing after he was charged with driving under the influence with a blood alcohol level above .15, resulting in an injury.
Judge Patricia Murphy accepted the defendant’s guilty plea and was to determine whether the felony charge was able to be altered to a misdemeanor with a maximum custody sanction of 180 days in county jail.
Deputy District Attorney Devin Mirchi stated 180 days is justified because the accused allegedly did not comply with a search warrant, and previous traffic incidents.
Deputy Public Defender Glenn Major asked the court to continue to reduce the count to a misdemeanor because the accused had little prior record and was only 22 years of age. PD Major requested the court give him 30 days and to be able to apply for an electronic monitor.
PD Major, in response to DDA Mirchi’s claims, mentioned the accused recently lost his mother and is supporting his one-year-old daughter. He is currently a mechanical assembler, hoping to keep his job.
PD Major stated: “This is a client that on the first day I met him, he wanted to settle the case, he wasn’t trying to get anything special or special treatment.”
PD Major also stated that he doesn’t see a reason for drugs and marijuana or weapons terms.
As PD Major finished his argument, Judge Murphy said she had considered many of the factors that counsel discussed in the mitigation of the defendant’s sentence.
In light of the accused’s young age and the early resolution of the case, the judge found the motion to reduce the felony to a misdemeanor, to be “well taken,” considering that the incident is not as serious as other cases with the same charge.
“That being said though, this was a significant event,” Judge Murphy stated. “It was significant in the risk posed to (the accused) and everybody else on the road, and it was also significant because of the high blood alcohol level.”
Because this was the accused’s first offense, the judge thought that the Probation Department’s recommendation regarding the 90 days in jail is “appropriate.”
According to her “rationale,” the judge did not consider the offense to be “a first time DUI.”
Judge Murphy then ruled she would allow the young man to apply for electronic monitoring in lieu of jail time. But, if the request is not approved, he would ultimately have to serve the jail time, noting that another factor was that an innocent individual was injured as a result of the accident.
The accused was then offered three years of formal probation on the terms and conditions of probation as recommended by the Probation Department with a couple of exceptions; including the strike of firearms and weapons terms. the accused was ordered to serve 90 days in county jail if not approved for electronic monitoring.