Saturday, May 18, 2024

Riverside council member arrested in second DUI case, weeks after previous conviction was dismissed

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Weeks after having a 2014 conviction of driving under the influence dismissed in court, Riverside Councilmember Clarissa Cervantes was arrested again early Saturday on suspicion of DUI.

Riverside Sheriff’s Office jail records show that Cervantes, 32, was arrested at 1:23 a.m. California Highway Patrol officers pulled her over on Interstate 10 in Banning.

Cervantes did not immediately respond to a request for a comment.

This was Cervantes’ second DUI arrest, with the first in September 2014, according to Riverside County Superior Court records obtained by The Times. The previous arrest was first reported by the Press-Enterprise.

Court records show that Cervantes paid more than $2,500 in fines for the prior case, which alleged she had a blood alcohol content over 0.15% — nearly twice the legal limit in California — and ended in a conviction in 2015.

In a hearing on the dismissal of that conviction, Cervantes told Judge Timothy J Hollenhorst: “Each day I carry remorse and promise to never repeat those actions,” according to the Press-Enterprise report.

The judge dismissed the conviction on May 19 this year, weeks before she was arrested again. Cervantes has been released, and her next court date is Aug. 30, jail records indicate.

The council member was involved in a public spat with Sheriff Chad Bianco last year after the sheriff accused her of supporting vandalism of the county courthouse at an abortion rights protest.

Cervantes sued for libel after Bianco posted on Instagram: “Shame on the Riverside city councilwoman for supporting the defacing of our courthouse. You are lucky we couldn’t arrest you.”

Cervantes denied being involved in the protest and said in a Facebook post she was in downtown Riverside the day of the protest for dinner and a gallery show.

“It’s been extremely challenging to process that our sheriff would not only do this to an elected official, but to a person, without offering any evidence or proof,” Cervantes told The Times shortly after the incident.

Times staff writer Nathan Solis contributed to this report.

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