Over Super Bowl weekend, members of the CHP and deputies from Santa Clarita Sheriff Station arrested nine people for allegedly driving under the influence. According to law enforcement, there is an average of about 10 DUI-related arrests in the area any given weekend. The fact that Superbowl weekend only saw nine means that even though a lot of people were celebrating this weekend, it didn’t equate to more people driving drunk.
Law enforcement agencies including the LASD, LAPD, and CHP, have long been vocal about their efforts to increase their vigilance when it comes to stopping impaired motorists. DUI checkpoints are held regularly at different locations around the county and saturation patrols are conducted at various times of the year. The consequences of driving under the influence will vary from situation-to-situation. Some people get behind the wheel while intoxicated and end up arriving at their destination. Others, however, like the recently-sentenced Saugus resident K. Hussain, are not so lucky.
On February 5, 2018, Hussain was driving on McBean Parkway near Bridgeport when his truck hit a tree and severed a water main. Both he and his toddler son were taken to the hospital with injuries. A few hours later, Hussain was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI with injury. He was sentenced this month to two years in California State prison.
The penalty for a DUI depends largely on the circumstances surrounding the crime and the defendant’s prior criminal history. A first-offense misdemeanor DUI carries the penalties of up to six months in county jail, a fine of $390 to $1000, six months suspended or restricted driving privileges, three or nine months of DUI school, and other associated costs totaling upwards of several thousand dollars.
For a third-offense, the driver faces much stiffer penalties, including six months to a year in county jail, the same fine, two years mandatory ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle (or three years of having their driving privileges suspended if they do not comply), 30 months of DUI school and significantly higher associated costs and fees.
If charged as a felony, defendants face anywhere from 16 months in state prison for a first-offense to three years for subsequent felony offenses. Additionally, they face up to five years of suspended driving privileges.
Of course, the real cost to driving under the influence comes when collisions occur which involve fatalities. Alcohol-related deaths are not uncommon, and when it happens, the charges and penalties a defendant faces increase sharply and include murder.