Light DUI Sentence Has Surviving Family Members Pushing For Change

There are few things more tragic than losing a loved one to a drunk driver. However, after an arrest has been made and the surviving family members believe their chance to see justice served in court, it can reopen those wounds again when a judge or jury hands down a lenient sentence.

KTLA recently reported that for one Riverside County family, seeing the driver responsible for their 53-year-old patriarch get a sentence that amounted to one week in jail did not amount to justice being served.

The daughter of the man who was killed told reporter Gene King that punishing drivers convicted of driving under the influence should be more severe. 

The victim, a truck driver who was cautious while on his motorcycle, was riding his motorcycle in Riverside in August of last year when the driver, Cecilia Martinez, hit him. The CHP estimates she was driving at an estimated speed of 114 miles per hour at the time.

The force of impact dragged the man and his motorcycle some 300 feet before Martinez brought her vehicle to a stop. Martinez was convicted of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and was sentenced to five years of probation. She was given 58 days of credit for time already served. 

“She essentially tortured him before he died,” his daughter said.

After just one week in jail, A Riverside County judge has allowed Martinez to serve the rest of her sentence under house arrest. The victim’s family doesn’t believe that is a severe enough punishment, since her actions cost the life of someone they loved.

“She gets to be home with her kids and kiss them tonight and live her life like normal. We have to deal with pain and grief,” the victim’s daughter said.

The Riverside County Attorney General’s Office told KTLA that it also opposed the light sentence.

The victim’s family has set up a petition page in the hopes of getting the DUI sentencing laws changed and so that other families don’t have to go through what they have.

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