A couple of weeks ago, we learned that Paul Pelosi, the husband of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, had gotten into a minor automobile accident and was subsequently suspected of having been driving while under the influence. At the time, very few details were being released by law enforcement and it wasn’t clear if he would even be charged with anything, despite reportedly having a blood-alcohol level above 0.8. I questioned at the time whether the Napa DA would really consider giving him a pass because of his famous family connections. It turns out that they were just making sure that they had dotted all of the i’s and crossed all of the t’s. This week, Mr. Pelosi was charged with two counts related to the incident, and he might even have to do some time in jail for it. (NY Post)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband was charged with DUI causing injury and could face jail time for alleged drunk driving at the end of May, officials said on Thursday.
Paul Pelosi, 82, was hit with new charges — including driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury and driving with .08% Blood Alcohol Level or higher causing injury Thursday, the Napa County District Attorney announced.
Pelosi was arrested just before midnight on May 28 in Napa County, California. He was headed from a dinner party to his and Nancy’s vineyard, River Run, when a 48-year-old man driving a 2014 Jeep crashed into his Porsche.
So the specific charges are driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury and driving with .08% Blood Alcohol Level or higher causing injury. (I remain unsure what the difference is between those two charges.) If convicted, he could receive a sentence including up to five years of probation, a minimum of five days in jail, and other penalties.
The other driver’s injuries were described as being minor, but I suppose any injury could qualify someone for the more serious charges listed here. And just how drunk was Pelosi at the time of the accident? We now know that he blew a .082 on the breathalyzer.
I’m not trying to make excuses for Paul Pelosi or say that he deserves special treatment, but I’ve long felt that the DUI laws we have around the nation are ludicrously strict. A level of .08 can be reached with just a couple of glasses of wine over dinner. And that’s precisely the sort of drinking Pelosi said he had engaged in. Was he really all that drunk? It was around four in the morning when the accident took place and the guy is in his 80s. He probably just nodded off.
The sort of penalty Pelosi can expect is up in the air. A person getting their first DUI in California will not automatically get any jail time, but that’s only if there are no injuries. The judge may have no option but to put him away for a week or so if the “with injury” clause is used. I imagine he’ll also have to complete some sort of substance abuse program.
The remaining question is why the CHP is still refusing to release the video and pictures from the night of the arrest. They maintain that releasing the material could “compromise an ongoing investigation.” But if the charges have been filed, hasn’t the investigation been completed? And how much was there to investigate? He drifted into an intersection where a Jeep struck his vehicle and he failed the breathalyzer test. (Though only barely.) Perhaps I’ve spent too long chasing political conspiracies, but I can’t shake the feeling that the videos might prove embarrassing and they’re trying to spare him some pain because he’s the Speaker’s husband. It all just seems kind of odd.