Celebrity Justice - The FindLaw Celebrities and The Law Blog

Driver in J.Lo's Hit-and-Run Facing DUI Charges: Report

The driver alleged to have drunkenly smashed into "Jenny From the Block" may be heading for a Southern California cell block.

TMZ reports that the L.A. County District Attorney's office is charging Robert John Reitz with two misdemeanor counts of DUI for allegedly rear-ending Jennifer Lopez in September. Prosecutors state that Reitz's blood alcohol concentration was nearly twice the legal limit, and he may be facing six months in jail if convicted.

What else should J.Lo fans know about this case?

No Hit-and-Run Charge... Yet

As music and legal junkies know, hitting someone and then leaving the scene of an accident (i.e., a "hit-and-run") is illegal in every state. In fact, hit-and-run incidents can become felony offenses when the victim is injured or killed in the process.

Luckily for Reitz, neither J.Lo nor her passengers (including two children) were injured, but fleeing the scene of a hit-and-run is still a misdemeanor offense in California as long as property was damaged. In this case, TMZ reports that Lopez's brand new Rolls-Royce was smashed by the drunken driver, so a hit-and-run misdemeanor is very possible.

It could be that prosecutors made a judgment call to simply pursue Reitz for the DUI charges, which would likely result in the same punishment.

DUI Charges

You might be wondering why Reitz is charged with two DUI charges even though he only is accused in this one drunken driving incident. Well, in California the DUI statute has two different parts, making it:

  • Illegal for a driver to be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol; and
  • Illegal for a driver to have a BAC of over 0.08 percent -- also known as the legal limit.

They may sound the same, especially in cases like Reitz's, but drivers may still be found to have been "under the influence" without being having a BAC of over 0.08 percent. And since both are misdemeanors, prosecutors like to charge suspects with both just to cover their bases.

If Reitz agrees to a plea bargain, the prosecutor will likely agree to drop one of the DUI charges in exchange for a guilty plea to the remaining charge. Whatever the outcome for Reitz, it's sure to be better than "Gigli."

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