By Mihajla Milovanovic
RIVERSIDE, CA – The preliminary hearing for a man—because the charge is now a misdemeanor the Vanguard redacted his name—in Riverside County Superior Court this week resulted in his charges reduced from felony level DUI (driving under the influence) that resulted in a collision to a misdemeanor because there were no serious injuries.
The preliminary hearing began with a deputy at the crash site explaining the crash involved a pick-up truck and the accused’s car, where the pick-up truck was “turned over.”
Deputy District Attorney Carlos Aguilar questioned the deputy about what originally made the deputy believe Herrera was under the influence. The deputy said the accused’s “eyes were red and watery, swaying, his speech was also slurred.”
DDA Aguilar asked the deputy for specific “demeanor” of the accused when speaking to him after the crash. The deputy said the accused was very “dismissive,” considering the danger and violence of the crash.
The deputy explained the accused stated he had “two mixed drinks,” a “Mai Tai” and “Long Island iced tea.” He added the pick-up truck was rolled over on its side.
The deputy also focused on the victim driving the pick-up truck, who was taken to the hospital with “back and neck pain.”
The deputy also told DDA Aguilar that Herrera was going “100 plus miles an hour” on the freeway, where he collided with the truck.
The deputy conducted field sobriety tests, explaining the accused did not understand the standing on one leg test, was swaying, and that he was “uncaring” to do the rest of them.
The accused went to the hospital to receive a blood draw to measure the alcohol level, where the deputy confirmed it was .194. Normal is .08.
Once the witness was dismissed, Judge Jorge Hernandez told the DDA “all I’m asking is you to provide me with enough injury for a preliminary hearing,” added that because the victim’s injury was “limited” to only “soft tissue, “it was not enough for a felony charge.
Judge Hernandez also explained the accused has no criminal history and with the injury being minimal, the DUI charge is not “felony conduct.”
Although Judge Hernandez did believe that there was enough injury regarding the DUI offense, he ultimately decided to change the felony DUI charge to a misdemeanor.