Last week, a 43-year-old executive pastor at a Santa Barbara church was arrested for driving under the influence. Gerald Torres has been placed on administrative leave from the Reality Church after crashing his motorcycle which he and his son, Judah, were riding on Casitas Pass Road on the afternoon of May 3.
Judah, who is 8 years old, was not injured in the crash which involved the Yamaha motorcycle leaving the road before it struck a traffic sign and fence. While Judah was thrown from the motorcycle, he was wearing a full-face helmet which prevented injury. A family member is said to have picked Judah up from the scene of the crash, while Gerald Torres was hospitalized after suffering cuts to his extremities and major head injuries.
According to Pastor Brick Merrick at the Reality Church, Torres’ blood alcohol level was well above the legal limit when tested by police. He was arrested on charges of DUI before being released to the hospital for treatment of his injuries.
Thankfully the pastor’s son was not seriously injured. Torres was released from the hospital on the Monday following the motorcycle crash. In California, the criminal penalties for a conviction on a first DUI include up to six months in jail, four month drivers license suspension, up to $1,000 in fines, and more.
Michigan DUI defense attorneys know that the penalties for those convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs are severe in every state. In Michigan, criminal penalties for a first time offender include up to 93 days in jail, 30 day license suspension followed by 150 days of restricted driving, community service, fines, and more. However, when someone is seriously injured in a drunk driving crash as Torres’ son may have been, a person may be charged with OWI (operating while intoxicated) causing serious bodily injury. The criminal penalties for this offense in Michigan include fines of up to $5,000 and a maximum of five years in prison.
Driving under the influence is serious business, no matter what state you reside in. If you live in Michigan and have been charged with an OWI offense, your freedom, reputation, and career are at stake. It is essential that you contact a capable and aggressive Michigan DUI defense lawyer now so that work can begin to protect your legal rights and avoid a conviction if possible.