Story update: On August 23, Paul Pelosi pleaded guilty to misdemeanor driving under the influence charges related to a May crash in California's wine country and was sentenced to five days in jail and three years of probation.
On May 29, Paul Pelosi, the 82-year-old husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in Northern California.
On June 8, Miami Standard, a Florida-based tabloid website, posted an article with the headline: “Charges Against Pelosi’s Husband Dropped, Cops Claim No Footage of Arrest.”
The claim was being shared across Twitter and went viral on Facebook, with some alleging California Gov. Gavin Newsom played a role in the charges being dismissed.
Were DUI charges against Paul Pelosi dropped?
No, Paul Pelosi’s charges were not dropped. At the time of the viral claims, charges had not yet been filed. On June 23, the Napa County District Attorney’s office filed misdemeanor DUI charges against Pelosi.
WHAT WE FOUND
On June 23, Napa County District Attorney Allison Haley’s office announced Paul Pelosi, husband of Nancy Pelosi, was charged with two misdemeanor counts: driving under the influence with injury and driving with .08% blood alcohol level or higher causing injury.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) booked Pelosi on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol on May 29 after responding to a report of a crash involving him in Napa, CHP Communications Director Fran Clader told VERIFY in an email. According to the district attorney, Pelosi had a .082% blood alcohol content (BAC). In the state of California, it is illegal for any person to operate a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or higher, if the person is 21 years old or older.
The punishment for driving under the influence with injury, which is a misdemeanor, includes up to five years of probation, a minimum of five days in jail, installation of an ignition interlock device, fines and fees, completion of a court ordered drinking driver class, and other terms as appropriate, according to the Napa County District Attorney’s office.
California law requires prosecutors to arraign a detained person within 48 business hours of arrest if they remain in detention. An arraignment is when the judge tells a defendant what charges have been formally filed against them. But if a person is released from custody, as Pelosi was, prosecutors can instead arraign them within 60 days, or even after that if they show good cause as to why there was a delay.
Records show Pelosi posted a $5,000 bail and was released shortly after his arrest. He is scheduled to return to court on Aug. 3 for his arraignment.
Bay Area attorney Aaron Bortel says this timeframe is common for DUI arrests.
“In San Francisco, it may happen within two to three weeks. In other counties, it can take two or more months, but typically, it’s within a month,” Bortel said on his website.
The California Highway Patrol commissioner does report to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, but claims that Newsom intervened to have the charges dropped are not true, according to Newsom’s office.
“The Governor has had absolutely zero involvement,” an email from the governor’s office said.
Nancy Pelosi declined to comment on the matter to the Associated Press (AP). A spokesperson for Nancy Pelosi told the AP: “The Speaker will not be commenting on this private matter which occurred while she was on the East Coast.”
Nancy Pelosi was in Providence, Rhode Island, at the time of her husband’s arrest.
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