By Fatimah Patel
STANISLAUS, CA – Efren Martinez Garcia was charged in July with felony battery and a misdemeanor for driving under the influence, and this past week, in Stanislaus County Superior Court, he entered a plea bargain for three years felony probation to avoid the chance of a significantly higher sentence.
Garcia’s public defender announced to the court a resolution had been made for both charges—Garcia would be pleading no contest to both.
Before the plea to the felony was formally entered, Garcia answered affirmatively when Judge Ricardo Córdova asked, “You understand the maximum sentence you could receive for the plea would be four years state prison?”
Judge Córdova then asked, “Are you pleading no contest to take advantage of the offer made to you today and to avoid taking the chance of receiving a more severe sentence had you gone to trial?” Garcia admitted, “Yes.”
Garcia formally plead no contest to the felony charge; Córdova found him guilty. After this plea, the prosecution moved to “dismiss the balance of the information in light of the plea and in the interest of justice” so his misdemeanor charge was dismissed and he was placed on three years formal felony probation.
He will also take a domestic violence counseling program and complete 40 hours of community service. In light of Garcia’s unemployment, Córdova waived the $500 fine.