COURT WATCH: Amended Charge to a Lighter Offense Conditioned on Man’s Agreement to Plea Deal 

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By Cynthia Hoang-Duong

WOODLAND, CA –  A felony charge was amended to a misdemeanor after a plea agreement was reached by the prosecution and defense at the beginning of a hearing Friday morning in Yolo County Superior Court.

The accused was originally charged with a felony for child endangerment, and misdemeanors for driving under the influence with two enhancements for excessive blood alcohol content (BAC) and driving with a minor; driving with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher, subject to the same two enhancements; and driving without a valid license.

The accused appeared in court virtually on Friday, prepared to enter the negotiated pleas with the prosecution. Deputy District Attorney Robin Johnson informed Judge Sonia Cortés of the parties’ agreement.

First, because child endangerment is a “wobbler” offense – it can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony – the prosecution amended the complaint, adding a fifth count of a misdemeanor for child endangerment.

Under the conditions that the accused plead no contest to Count 3, admitted to its first enhancement, and plead no contest to the added fifth count, the prosecution would dismiss the remaining counts, including the original felony for child endangerment.

Deputy Public Defender Peter Borruso agreed to the standard disposition for both counts for his client, and the accused was sentenced to nine days in jail and prohibited from consuming alcohol for six months. The judge also ordered him to enroll in an alcohol education course for three months and a parenting class for 52 weeks.

Regarding the courses, the DPD requested the accused to complete them in Alameda County where he resides and to complete his jail time in Contra Costa County for its alternative program.

Further, he agreed to the fines imposed but asked the court to stay the fines for the fifth count because the parenting courses would cost the accused.

Judge Cortés did not object to either request.

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