Jury Trial Proceeds in Auto Accident in Death – Accused Trying to Get DUI Felony Reduced to Misdemeanor

By Shady Gonzales 

MODESTO, CA – The jury trial here in Stanislaus County Superior Court of Manpreet Atwal—charged with a felony under the influence/DUI about five years ago—concluded its prosecution side of witness testimony Wednesday.

Atwal is attempting to get his DUI felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor following an automobile accident that resulted in the death of an individual.

Deputy District Attorney Vita Palazuelos called her first witness of the day and her final witness in this case, someone who previously worked at an alcohol and drug program that Atwal attended in 2013 in Stanislaus County.

The center that this witness worked at offers services to individuals who receive DUIs and are required to complete this specific program.

A certification of completion was awarded to Atwal from the program in 2013 after he had completed 12 hours of alcohol education. Atwal had been required to complete the program following a DUI he received earlier that year.

The curriculum of this program includes information about the dangers of driving while under the influence and statistics regarding driving while under the influence and how that causes injury to others.

The witness testified that the program’s goal is to prevent further DUI violations in the future.

In the cross-examination of the witness, defense attorney Preciliano Martinez presented the argument that, although the witness had signed the certificate of completion for Atwal, she did not actually teach the program or sit in on the classes to be certain of what was taught in the classes.

During DDA Palazuelos’ redirect examination, she asked the witness: “Is it pretty standard for the students to have sat through these classes, and every single time, be reiterated about this idea that if you drive under the influence, you may kill someone and you may be charged with murder?”

In response, the witness responded by stating that this was correct.

At this point in the trial, the prosecution rested their case.

In conclusion of the prosecution’s line of witnesses, Judge Dawna Reeves announced trial would return Thursday to begin the line of witnesses for the defense.

About The Author

Shady is a third year undergraduate student at UC Santa Barbara. She is majoring in history with a minor in professional writing. She is passionate about working in the criminal defense sector of law and plans on attending law school in the near future.

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