Ricardo De La Torre is facing four years in prison after receiving his fifth DUI conviction since 2001, according to recent reports.
De La Torre, 53, was charged with a felony DUI due to his previous arrests and convictions. His last arrest was in November, when he collided with a truck on San Miguel Canyon Road while driving under the influences of alcohol. After the accident, De La Torre left his vehicle in drive, resulting in it crashing into a guardrail. Suspected of driving under the influence, police asked De La Torre to perform an on-site field sobriety test, which he failed. Police also found open vodka and beer containers, leading to an open container charge. Because of the severity of his record and charges, De La Torre faces a maximum penalty of four years in prison.
A misdemeanor DUI is generally given against someone who was driving under the influence of a low BAC, but still above the legal limit, and who did not harm anyone or anything. First DUI offenses are generally misdemeanors, although certain factors can push them to become felony charges.
Misdemeanors can also quickly lead to felony convictions for those who have incurred multiple DUIs. A California felony DUI may be charged against an individual when their DUI causes injury or death, when they possess a prior felony DUI, or when they possess at least three prior DUI convictions. Thus, having multiple prior DUI convictions is the most common way for a common misdemeanor DUI to turn into a felony conviction.
Increased convictions means an increase in the level of punishment. DUIs are ‘priorable’ offenses in California. Those who have three or more prior DUI convictions within ten years are very likely to face felony DUI charges. The penalties for felony DUI charges include sixteen months or two to three years in a California State Prison, a fine of between $390 and $1,000, a four-year California driver’s license revocation and designation as a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) by the state DMV.
The injury or resulting death of an individual can make even a first DUI offense a felony. However, criminal charges do not compensate the victims of a DUI crash.
Those who are injured due to the negligence of a drunk driver have legal rights they can exercise to pursue compensation for damages, such as medical costs and pain and suffering. Victims of drunk drivers should seek the experienced legal aid of the Gilleon Law Firm, APC in San Diego. With years of experience aiding victims of drunk drivers, the Gilleon Law firm can help you build a case and fight for payment for your injuries.