For the most part, a DUI charge in California is a misdemeanor. There are circumstances where a DUI may be charged as a felony. These circumstances include: if this is a person’s 4th DUI charge in 10 years. DUI convictions from other states are included in this count, as are “wet reckless” charges. Another way that a DUI can become a felony is if the person already has a felony DUI conviction. Finally, if the DUI involves an accident where there are serious injuries or fatalities, the DUI can be charged as a felony. Serious injuries can include broken bones or permanent scarring.
The Merced Sun-Star reports on a woman who pleaded guilty to two felony DUI counts for her involvement in a 2016 accident in Modesto.
At about 5:00 a.m. on June 8th, 2016, 40-year-old Jacquilin Calixtro was driving her boyfriend, 68-year-old Ralph Cook home from the hospital. She crashed into a guardrail on southbound Highway 99. Cook, a former Merced County court commissioner, was killed in the accident.
Calixtro had originally pleaded not guilty to the charges, changed her plea to no contest on Tuesday. This allowed her to avoid a four year prison sentence. Calixtro pleaded guilty to two counts of felony DUI and one count of gross vehicular manslaughter.
By the time that her blood-alcohol content was tested, it was 0.65%, under the legal limit of .08%, but prosecutors argued that at the time of the accident, Calixtro’s BAC was above .08%.
Calixtro will serve 360 days in jail and afterward, five years of probation as part of her plea agreement. She will be prohibited from entering bars or liquor stores as part of the agreement.