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Name: People v. Watson
Case #: D061668
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 10/08/2013
Subsequent History: Review granted 1/15/2014: S214682

Intoxicated defendant who drove her dune buggy into another vehicle, injuring its driver, was not entitled to a reduction in victim restitution based on comparative fault. While intoxicated, defendant drove her dune buggy at night in the Imperial County dunes without headlights and at a high rate of speed. She hit a 15-year-old boy driving a quad, who suffered severe injuries to his leg during the collision. Defendant pled no contest to driving with a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher (Veh. Code, §23153, subd. (b)) and causing injury. She received probation. At a restitution hearing, she presented expert testimony regarding the victim’s comparative fault, but the court failed to reduce the amount of restitution. Defendant appealed. Held: Affirmed. Section 1202.4 mandates restitution to cover victims’ economic losses, absent “compelling and extraordinary reasons.” In People v. Millard (2009) 175 Cal.App.4th 7, the court found the victim bore “substantial responsibility” for his injuries, and, as a result, “compelling and extraordinary reasons” justified the application of comparative fault principles. However, Millard does not require application of comparative fault in criminal proceedings, and, regardless, the victim was not substantially responsible for his injuries. In addition, restitution may be imposed under section 1203.1 to serve broader goals, such as furthering rehabilitation, and, here, imposing the full victim restitution served rehabilitative purposes.