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California Bill Would Allow DUI Charges To Be Dismissed

ANAHEIM (CBSLA) - Two recent cases in Orange County involving suspected DUIs could be negatively affected if state Assembly Bill 3234 is signed into law by the governor next month, according to California prosecutors.

Both defendants in the case of a pregnant woman killed in Anaheim by an alleged impaired driver and a Newport Beach mother who died after a man suspected of DUI ran a red light and hit her have prior convictions for driving under the influence.

Over the last 60 days in Orange County alone, seven people have been killed by people with prior DUI warnings or convictions, according to Deputy District Attorney Brian Orue.

AB 3234 includes a long list of crimes where offenders could be offered diversion programs by judges to avoid a criminal record - and avoid jail time.

AB 3234 would allow charges to be dismissed after completion of the program, erasing criminal behavior from the record, lawyers say.

On the list of serious crimes: statutory rape, sexual assault on a minor 14 years or older, hate crimes, elder abuse and vehicular manslaughter.

Manslaughter is charged in some DUI cases when the suspect is a repeat offender.

"If we don't have the ability to show that someone did this before, that means the punishment that fits that crime cannot be had in California," said District Attorney Todd Spitzer. "I cannot believe in my wildest dreams that when legislators voted this bill..they knew that..they didn't know that!"

Gov. Newsom may still veto AB 3234.

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