Iya Falcone Pleads No Contest to DUI

Former City Councilmember Sentenced to Three Years Probation

Monday, October 29, 2012
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Former Santa Barbara City Councilmember Iya Falcone pleaded no contest Monday morning to misdemeanor DUI and driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher. She was issued a citation the morning of September 19 after she hit a parked car in a Mesa parking lot. Falcone will receive no jail time, despite a request from the District Attorney’s Office, and was placed on three years of probation by Judge James Herman.

Iya Falcone
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman

Iya Falcone

Falcone — who ran for mayor in 2009 after serving two terms as councilmember — will have to go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings twice a week for 30 days and, because of her public figure status, will give four public lectures to nonprofits or schools on the dangers of driving under the influence. She was also fined $2,356. Herman said Falcone’s former public official status had no impact on his decision. “That status in the court’s view doesn’t mean she should be treated any differently,” Herman said.

Deputy DA Gary Gemberling said the 0.23/0.24 BAC readings taken at 10:30 a.m. that morning were enough to warrant a 15-day jail sentence. “Based on the high BAC and the fact that there was an accident, we felt there should have been jail time,” he said.

Falcone was not present in court Monday but apologized at the time of her arrest. “I made a stupid mistake,” she told The Santa Barbara Independent. “I’m sorry. I apologized to everyone involved. It won’t happen again.”


Independent Discussion Guidelines

DDA Gemberling is right - there should have been some jail time as part of the sentence. Bad call by the judge.

LegendaryYeti (anonymous profile)
October 29, 2012 at 2:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I am sure she learned a tough lesson, one that probably ended her political hopes. There's usually a license suspension with a DUI; was there one here or will she be driving to the AA classes. Good luck to her!

at_large (anonymous profile)
October 29, 2012 at 3:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If Herman didn't suspend her license, then I take exception to his claim that she wasn't treated any different from any other DUI defendant...

LegendaryYeti (anonymous profile)
October 29, 2012 at 5:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Falcone's being made accountable is needed as part of what will hopefully be a healing process for her. Having said that, the greater issue lies in the fact that our society has a sense of entitlement when it comes to drinking and driving. People talk out one side of their mouths about "drinking responsibly" while setting their own limits as to what "responsible" means. It's an open secret that fundraisers are an excuse for people to drink, and drive home impaired. (Maybe not falling over commode-hugging plastered--but impaired nonetheless)

Our culture condemns drugs and smoking and passes laws ensuring people either don't do these things in public, or not at all, while it glorifies drinking. Add to this the fact that there is the big lie that drinking wine somehow makes one sexier, cooler, and more cultured, when all it does (as is the case with all other forms of booze) is lessen one's intelligence, impairs their judgement, and makes them unsafe to drive when one is under it's influence.

Once again: Why is it SO hard for supposedly intelligent, moral people do understand that the phrase "don't drink and drive" applies to them?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
October 30, 2012 at 3:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)

completely with you on this, Bill, and she should have gotten license suspension and/or 15-day jail time. That said, what do you expect in a screen-obsessed, work-obsessed, materially-obsessed rush rush rush culture wherein people lose the ability to wind down's flat screens, football, & fill up my glass.
I do not mean that "to understand is to forgive", but additional steps need to be taken to show or help desperate people get out of such ruts.
Great point how "It's an open secret that fundraisers are an excuse for people to drink, and drive home impaired." Boy have I been to a few of those... but luckily my pals won't allow any friend to drive home even a bit tipsy, and we look out for each other in the driving impaired department.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
October 30, 2012 at 5:29 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I would urge Iya and anyone who is so drunk at 10 IN THE MORNING that they are THREE times over the legal limit to seek help inmeduately. Your problem is undeniable and you must stop drinking before tou kill someone, probably yourself!
My neighbor took his own life last month after years as a "functioning " alcoholic. Bottom line is that when you drink to this extent you isolate yourself and let your life slip away from you. Soon, whether you are drunk or sober, you are so lonely and hurt that depression kicks in and before you know it you're standing with a rope around your neck, about to jump off a kitchen chair.

bloodydramaqueen (anonymous profile)
October 30, 2012 at 7:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

License suspension is an administrative matter handled by the DMV separate from and usually prior to the conviction for DUI. The DMV conducts its own hearing to determine if there was probable cause to stop the driver and if she/he was over the limit.

ice9 (anonymous profile)
October 30, 2012 at 8:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

If jail time is usually part of a sentence for DUI then she should have gotten some, but if it's not usually for any one else to go to jail, then why should she?

Shame of her for this offense....

retprotector (anonymous profile)
October 30, 2012 at 9 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Normal people get jail time. Another fine example how their are two sets of rules for society. One for the masses and one for the well connected.

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
October 30, 2012 at 9:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The only thing good about this story, is that no one got hurt. I feel the sentence was inadequate, she should have gotten some jail time.

She is trying to say prescription drugs played a part, so she is still in denial about having a drinking problem. Anyone who is drunk in the morning, has a drinking opinion anyway. And no amount of prescription drugs will raise the alcohol level in your body.

Rsparks (anonymous profile)
October 30, 2012 at 10:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

From what I have heard, depending on how far over the limit one is..i.e. 2 X .08= .16 and 3 x .08= .24..etc...this will force the judges hand somewhat regarding leniency or lack thereof. It would appear Ms. Falcone got off lightly probably due to some backroom deal since she plead out. I thought she was one of the better ones in city hall. Sadly her life has taken this turn. Hopefully, it this is a warning sign she reads. Well said bloodydramaqueen.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
October 30, 2012 at 10:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

According to Noozhawk, "Her license will be suspended for 30 days, but she’ll be eligible for a restricted license on Nov. 10 if she follows the terms of her probation."

She got off very easy. Three times the legal limit, two hours after officers were called, with an accident involved to boot. She needs more than 9 months of alcohol classes and a few AA meetings. The rest of us would have gotten jail.

sbdude (anonymous profile)
October 30, 2012 at 2:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hopefully some people who have had experience with the other side of the drunk driving equation will have the opportunity to educate Iya. Having to face victims in public discourse might just be the best medicine she can get.

Rich (anonymous profile)
October 31, 2012 at 8:13 a.m. (Suggest removal)

In DUI cases the judge has to go by minimum guidelines and his hands are tied. He can give more...but not less. The bottom line is the only thing that can help is if this lady wants help. Not just lip service saying how sorry she is....In her case the booze will talk to her again unless she stops drinking. Insanity is what it is. Now if she had Cancer...would the answer be put her in jail? I think's the same thing folks....and like Cancer it does not ignore people in the public eye.
It took me 6 DUI's a Felony charge and a year at the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission to face my drinking (problem). It's more than a Problem....

metosend2 (anonymous profile)
November 1, 2012 at 8:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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