Actress Estella Warren, who starred with Mark Walberg in the 2001 version of “Planet of the Apes,” plead “No Contest” to a DUI 2nd offense on Friday, August 19, 2011. The case originated out of Los Angeles, California. Ms. Warrant was originally charged with four misdemeanor counts after her arrest in May of this year for colliding with three parked cars and then tussling with the police. During that event she was obviously intoxicated and charged with DUI. The 32 year old actress was previously convicted of misdemeanor/Drunk driving in 2007 as well.
In this case, the judge ordered her to serve four months in a residential alcohol rehab facility, and she was also placed on five years of informal probation. A restitution hearing will be heard on October 7, 2011 to determine if any restitution will need to be paid to the car owners. Under the plea agreement the three escaped/related misdemeanor charges (hit and run, battery on a police officer, and resisting arrest) were dismissed.
As a South Carolina DUI lawyer, I will examine the critical parts of Ms. Warren’s case and compare it to a non-celebrity South Carolina driver facing DUI charges in the same situation:
DUI 2nd offense – As referenced above, Ms. Warren has a previous DUI conviction in 2007. In South Carolina, a driver faces a 2nd offense DUI if the first conviction occurred within the past 10 years. The punishment range for DUI 2nd offense runs from a minimum of 5 days in jail up to a maximum of 3 years. The fine range extends from a minimum of $2,500 up to a maximum of $13,500. Probation can go up to 5 years after the sentence is served. A mandatory in-car breathalyzer is mandated by SC-DMV for a period of at least 2 years. Additionally, in South Carolina, 2nd offense DUIs are prosecuted in General Sessions Court, whereas first offense DUIs are handled in Magistrate or Municipal Courts. Also, if convicted of DUI 2nd offense a South Carolina, the driver faces a mandatory 1 year suspension of their drivers license and there is no allowance for a provisional/restricted or “work driving” privileges.