CALEXICO — Calexico City Council Member Rosie Fernandez pleaded guilty to one charge of driving under the influence of alcohol and was sentenced to probation, community service and must have an alcohol-detection device installed in her car following court proceedings Jan. 13, according to the prosecution.
charges against Fernandez, 62, were dismissed by the court, including a second
DUI charge and two charges of hit-and-run driving and property damage,
according to an Imperial County Superior Court clerk contacted Jan. 15.
Contreras, a deputy state attorney general who was prosecuting Fernandez’s
cases, told a reporter outside the courtroom Jan. 13 that Fernandez was given five
years of “summary probation” for the DUI case, which he explained is given to
lesser-, or first-time offenders, not likely to re-offend.
further comment and messages left with Rivera were not returned by deadline.
did not immediately answer calls nor texts the morning of Jan. 15.
said as part of the probation, Fernandez was also sentenced to 12 days of
community service and has to have the alcohol-detection device, or
ignition-interlock device, on her car at least six months. She also has to
complete a six-month alcohol-education program.
community service days are to be served with a state Department of Transportation
public works crew. She must register with Caltrans by Jan. 27.
plea stems from her July 6, 2019, DUI arrest by the California Highway Patrol following
a collision with another vehicle on southbound Highway 111 just north of McCabe
Road. Fernandez suffered minor injuries in the accident, but the driver of the
other vehicle was unharmed.
hit-and-run charges dismissed against Fernandez came from a May 5 incident in
Calexico, where she was alleged to have driven into a parked car in a driveway.
She was cited on May 6 by Calexico police.
At the time
the May citation report was submitted to the Imperial County District
Attorney’s Office, DA Gilbert Otero declared a conflict of interest because
Fernandez had worked on his re-election campaign. The case, and later, the July
DUI case, were forwarded to the state Attorney General’s Office for
Office combined the cases into one four-count case against the council member.
final few minutes of the proceeding this newspaper was able to attend, Judge
Marco Nunez questioned whether Fernandez had surrendered her driver’s license
upon her arrest for driving under the influence in connection with the July
ordered her not to drive without a license because it is dangerous,” Nunez
told the defense counsel.
will be able to retain her driver license, yet she must install an ignition-interlock
device in her car. The device is capable of detecting all types of beverages
device is about the size of a cell phone and wired to a vehicle’s ignition,
according to information from the state Department of Motor Vehicles. After
installation, the device requires the driver to provide a breath sample before
the engine will start. If the device detects alcohol on a driver’s breath, the
engine will not start. As a motorist drives, they are periodically required to
provide breath samples to ensure the continued absence of alcohol in their system.
is due in court again Jan. 27 to complete paperwork, such as the probation
order as well as forms related to the ignition-interlock device.