Paul Pelosi Avoiding Jail for DUI Criticized: He Could’ve ‘Killed Someone’


Paul Pelosi, husband of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, will avoid jail time after pleading guilty on Tuesday to driving under the influence of alcohol leading to a car crash in May—prompting criticism from some conservatives who argued he should face a steeper sentence.

Pelosi, 82, was arrested in Napa County on May 28 after his Porsche became involved in a car crash with a Jeep, causing “major collision damage” to both vehicles. He was arrested with a 0.082 percent blood alcohol content, higher than the legal limit of 0.08, prosecutors said.

On Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge and was sentenced to five days in jail and three years of probation, according to San Fransisco-based news station KGO-TV. Pelosi already served two days in jail and received “conduct credit” for another two, according to the Associated Press. He will work for one day in a court work program instead of serving the remaining fifth day in jail.

Pelosi will spend one year with an ignition interlock device, which requires him to submit a breathalyzer test before operating his vehicle, according to KGO.

He will also have to pay $7,000 in fines, the AP reported.

Paul Pelosi pleads guilty to DUI
Paul Pelosi is seen in a Washington, D.C., meeting on May 16. Some conservatives criticized his sentence on Tuesday after he pleaded guilty and avoided further jail time for a May DUI.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Some conservatives and Pelosi critics took issue with the sentence, arguing that he should face more punishment for the DUI.

“Another slap on the wrist for the elite. No big deal he could have killed someone,” tweeted talk show host Joe Pags Pagliarulo.

Conservative commentator Brigitte Gabriel wrote: “Paul Pelosi could have killed someone. Anyone else would be facing the possibility of jailtime.”

Nick Adams, another conservative commentator, wrote: “Paul Pelosi deserves jailtime.”

Despite these criticisms, his sentence appeared to be fairly standard for a first-time DUI offender in California, who typically receive probation, rather than a jail sentence, according to

“It’s possible for a first offender to receive 48 hours to six months in jail. But if the judge orders probation—which occurs in most cases—there’s no mandatory jail time. Oftentimes, judges are lenient on first offenders and don’t order time in jail as part of the sentence,” the website reads.

On Fox News, criminal defense attorney Jonna Spilbor was pressed about whether there was “favorable treatment” for Pelosi. She said avoiding jail time in a case like Pelosi’s is “pretty standard.”

“I’ve handled thousands of DWI or DUI cases in my day and this case was entirely run of the mill, but for one thing—and that’s the defendant himself,” she said.

Newsweek reached out to Speaker Pelosi’s office for comment.