On March 21, 29-year-old Jonathan D. Chel, an off-duty LAPD police officer, was arrested on suspicion of DUI after he crashed into a McDonald’s drive-thru, according to news reports at KTLA 5. Chel was hospitalized following the accident; no one else was injured.
California Highway Patrol Officer Rodrigo Jimenez said that the crash occurred at approximate 1:15 a.m. as Chel was leaving the eastbound 60 Freeway on the Brea Canyon Road off-ramp. Chel’s vehicle allegedly left the off-ramp then went through the on-ramp before ultimately landing in the McDonald’s parking lot after he failed to negotiate a right turn.
Jimenez said that the investigation is ongoing, and that the officer did not take a breath test in the field; he said that there was evidence that Chel had consumed alcohol although California Highway Police did not release his blood-alcohol level. While Chel was arrested on suspicion of DUI, CHP officials made the decision to release him to a Los Angeles Police Department sergeant. Jimenez said that the CHP determined this was the appropriate action to take.
The Mazda 3 Chel was driving sustained extensive damage in the crash; the car door had to be pried open by the fire department so that Chel could be removed from the vehicle.
According to Luis Garcia, LAPD Media Relations Section Officer, patrol officers whose driver’s licenses have been suspended due to driving under the influence are not allowed on normal duty. Jimenez stated that Chel’s case would be treated just as any other individual who had been arrested for driving under the influence.
In California, the penalties for a first DUI offense include 3 to 5 years of court probation, fines of up to $1,800, six month drivers license suspension, DUI school, and a mandatory 48 hours of jail time, which may be converted to work service.
In Michigan, a first-time offender who is found guilty of driving under the influence will face up to 93 days in jail, 30-day license suspension followed by 150 days of restricted driving, possible DUI school, community service, and fines.
Regardless of what state you reside in, driving under the influence will leave you facing serious criminal penalties, not to mention a criminal record which could impact many areas of your life. If you have been arrested or charged with a drunk driving offense in Michigan, do not hesitate before speaking with an experienced and aggressive Michigan DUI defense attorney.