Nancy Pelosi's husband pleads guilty to drunken driving in California

Mr Paul Pelosi (right) was involved in a two-car crash in California's wine country in May. PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - The husband of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was sentenced to five days in jail and ordered to pay US$6,800 (S$9,470) in fines and restitution on Tuesday (Aug 24) after he pleaded guilty to causing injury by drunken driving in Napa County, California.

But Paul Pelosi, 82, will avoid any further incarceration after the judge gave him four days' credit for time already served in jail following his arrest and ordered him to perform eight hours of community service in lieu of the one remaining day, according to his attorney Amanda Bevins.

Ms Bevins entered the guilty plea on her client's behalf in Napa County Superior Court. The defendant chose not to appear for the proceeding, as his presence was not required, according to a press release from the county prosecutor's office.

Pelosi, a venture capital executive, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) after he was involved in a two-car crash in California's wine country in May. Police said his Porsche collided with a Jeep when he attempted to cross a highway, though no one was seriously hurt.

His wife, a California Democrat and second in line to succeed the US president as speaker of the House of Representatives, was in Rhode Island at the time of the incident to deliver a commencement address at Brown University.

Under an agreement reached with prosecutors to settle the case, Judge Joseph Solga on Tuesday accepted Pelosi's guilty plea to a single misdemeanour count of DUI causing injury.

The judge dismissed a second charge of driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08 per cent or higher, the state's legal limit, and causing injury. That charge, like the one Pelosi pleaded guilty to, carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail, a spokesman for the county district attorney's office said.

Although spared any additional jail time, Pelosi was placed on three years probation and forbidden to operate a motor vehicle for a year unless it is equipped with a DUI ignition device, which prevents the driver from starting the car without first providing an instant alcohol-free breath sample.

Paul Pelosi also was ordered to pay US$4,927 in restitution to the driver of the other car for medical bills and lost wages, plus the standard restitution fee of US$150 and a US$1,723 court fine, the district attorney's (DA) office said.

Besides the penalties imposed by the judge, the state Department of Motor Vehicles could also suspend Paul Pelosi's driver's license for a year based on his conviction, the DA's office said.

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