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Arraignment of Paul Pelosi on DUI charge set for Wednesday

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Paul and Nancy Pelosi

Paul Pelosi, seen in 2019 attending the 2019 Time 100 Gala with his wife, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is scheduled for arraignment Wednesday morning in U.S. District Court on a misdemeanor drunken driving charge stemming from a May 28 collision in Oakville.

Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, will be arraigned Wednesday morning on a drunken driving allegation stemming from a May crash near the couple’s St. Helena area home, Napa County prosecutors have announced.

The arraignment hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. in Napa County Superior Court, according to a statement from the office of District Attorney Allison Haley. Paul Pelosi faces misdemeanor charges of causing injury by driving under the influence and driving with a blood alcohol level over 0.08%.

Haley's office had announced June 23 it would file DUI charges against Paul Pelosi in connection with a two-vehicle collision on the night of May 28, on Highway 29 in Oakville.

State law allows Pelosi to be represented at the arraignment through his attorney rather than personally, the District Attorney’s Office said in a news release Monday afternoon.

At an arraignment, the defendant is usually informed of the charges, and can enter a not-guilty plea and have the case continued to a later date, either for a change of plea or to schedule a trial. Defendants in misdemeanor cases who are not in custody have a right to a jury trial within 45 days, but can waive the deadline.

Pelosi’s arraignment hearing will be broadcast online via Zoom, similar to other Napa County court proceedings since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. Information about virtual courtroom access is available at napa.courts.ca.gov.

On the night of the crash, Pelosi was driving a 2021 Porsche east on Walnut Lane across Highway 29 when his car collided with a 2014 Jeep on Oakville Cross Road, the California Highway Patrol said at the time. A blood sample taken just over two hours after the crash showed Pelosi had a blood alcohol percentage of 0.082%, the District Attorney’s Office reported earlier.

While DUI resulting in injury can be prosecuted as a felony or misdemeanor in California, Napa County prosecutors filed the lesser charges “consistent with how our office handles these cases with similar injuries,” the DA’s Office said in an earlier statement.

Punishment for a misdemeanor DUI conviction includes fines, up to five years’ probation, at least five days in jail, a requirement to install an ignition interlock, and completing a court-ordered class for drunken drivers.

Haley’s office has described receiving numerous angry calls after right-wing media figures – including U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert and Donald Trump Jr., son of the former president – spread false rumors that Napa County had dropped the charges against Pelosi.

“There’s been bad information pushed out and sometimes the rumors can, they travel quickly on social media,” Henry Wofford, spokesperson for the Napa County Sheriff’s Office, said in June. “If something doesn’t sound right, we encourage them to check out our social media web pages or give us a call to check whether it’s accurate or not.”

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