Armendariz was charged with DUI after crashing his vehicle on Highway 101 north of Padaro Lane on Dec. 2, 2011. The collision left him with serious injuries. It was his second DUI arrest within five years, and the District Attorney’s Office charged him with DUI and driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent or above. His blood alcohol concentration was 0.18 at the time of his arrest, more than twice the legal limit, according to the DA’s Office.
Armendariz said he has struggled with alcoholism for the better part of 25 years and is committed to recovery.
He pleaded no contest and was sentenced by Judge James Herman to 61 days in County Jail and three years of probation, will have his license suspended for one year, and was ordered to complete an 18-month offender program through the Department of Motor Vehicles — required to get his license back — and to pay fines.
Since it’s a misdemeanor offense, he did not appear in court Monday and was represented by his attorney, Josh Lynn. According to Lynn, Armendariz was going to be sentenced in front of high school students with the Friday Night Live program, but logistics didn’t work out.
He said Armendariz is committed to finding something positive out of the situation and wanted to show the dramatic result the collision had on his life.
“Mr. Armendariz knew exactly what would occur in court today and takes this very seriously,” Lynn said.
Deputy District Attorney Gary Gemberling said it’s a standard sentencing for a second DUI offense, and Armendariz is eligible for alternative sentencing such as electronic monitoring or the Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program, which would avoid actual custody time at the County Jail.
If Armendariz violates his probation — which includes terms not to drive with any trace of alcohol or without a valid license, registration and insurance — he could receive up to 365 days of jail time.
He also may have to pay restitution for a fence he apparently damaged in the collision, according to Gemberling.
“I think it’s a good resolution,” Gemberling said, adding that he wishes Armendariz “the best of luck” with recovery.
Though his colleagues on the City Council have stripped him of his committee assignments, including the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments, and asked him to resign, he has said he will serve the rest of his term, which ends this year. However, he does not intend to run for re-election.
“I have a lot of power in certain areas of my life; I have no power when it comes to alcohol,” he said in a statement at a January City Council meeting. “I have learned the hard way how difficult this issue is, and it’s not something that’s unique to me. It’s something that many, many, many members of my family over the years have also struggled with.”