A nationally known human resources consultant from Murphys was sentenced to 180 days in jail Friday morning in Calaveras County Superior Court, but she will return for a review hearing on March 7 after serving a total of 45 days to determine the next phase of her incarceration.
The 180-days sentence in jail for Beth De Lima likely will result in 90 days credit for time served. She pleaded no-contest to felony driving under the influence of alcohol with a special enhancement of causing great bodily injury to a Bret Harte High School administrator, Heath Lane.
At her March review hearing, De Lima’s sentencing may be modified to include an additional 90 days in jail consecutive to her current term, 90 days in jail to be served at a later date, or 90 days on a electronic home-monitoring program.
“We are going to deal with the other issues later, as they arise,” Judge Timothy Healy said before discussing the terms and conditions of De Lima’s sentencing identified in a probation report.
De Lima emerged from jail holding Friday morning holding a folder, and briefly flashed a tired smile toward the audience.
During a Jan. 26 victim witness statement by Lane, De Lima’s attorney, Ken Foley, of San Andreas, related that she had planned to make a statement at the sentencing, but she did not.
Lane, who was present with family members, said after the hearing he was disappointed she did not speak.
He added that he had reached some “finality with it” and did not plan to attend her March 7 review hearing.
During his statement, Lane described being extracted from his totalled 2015 Dodge after emergency personnel used the Jaws of Life. De Lima in a 2012 Audi slammed into his vehicle head-on on Murphys Grade Road.
Lane sustained facial, hip and tibia fractures, and was bound to a wheelchair for three months following the collision, but said he was “feeling good” in terms of physical pain.
When Deputy District Attorney Dana Pfeil referenced De Lima’s 0.15 BAC and a DUI program she would be required to attend following her release, De Lima raised her eyebrows behind her transparent-framed glasses and frowned.
When questioned by Healy if she had read the terms and conditions document that had been presented to her in court, De Lima asked for multiple points of clarification about the nature of her probation and the restrictions of possible home electronic monitoring.
“The only confusion and concern I would have is some of the ambiguity about the nature of the document,” she said, referencing potential probation violations about the presence of alcohol in her home.
“Let’s not overthink this,” Healy said, and noted that she would have to “clean our house out of every bit of alcohol,” including, but not limited to, household items such as cooking sherry or mouthwash.
Squinting in his direction, De Lima noted, “our house is already clean,” but asked about the potential for a violation if there was a “gardener drinking a beer” on her property.
There’s a “practical aspect to a lot of this,” Healy said, and noted that questions about alcohol at an office building, which is owned by her corporation, would be better directed to her lawyer or probation officer.
Healy added that any firearms or ammunition in her household could not be accessible to her.
Both Foley and Pfeil agreed to remove the stipulation of “flash incarceration” from De Lima’s probation terms, or a mandatory detention period of one to 10 days in county jail due to a violation of her post-release community supervision.
Healy said without the flash incarceration stipulation, De Lima would be given notice of court proceedings or have her probation revoked until the violation was finalized.
“I consider that to be due process,” Foley said.
Foley also asked for additional clarification on whether De Lima would be able to complete her obligations as an expert witness later in the year as it pertained to flying and a potential electronic home monitoring sentence.
Pfeil confirmed that De Lima would not be able to leave the state without explicit permission from her probation officer, but that arrangements could be made with the Transportation Security Administration regarding an ankle monitor.
According to the original plea agreement between the parties, De Lima was to serve 90 days in county jail followed by 90 days in an alternative work or electronic monitoring program and five years of formal probation, but a subsequent probation report on the terms and conditions of her sentence indicated that she was ineligible for the electronic home monitoring program because of the violent nature of the offense.
Healy denied a defense motion on Feb. 9 to confirm De Lima’s eligibility for the program, but noted that her attorney could file an appeal to the probation report pending the determination of her sentence.
If allowed to complete her sentence on the electronic monitoring program, De Lima would not earn credit for time served and would have to complete a full 90 days with the ankle monitor.
De Lima originally was charged with two counts of felony driving under the influence with the special enhancement of great bodily injury. According to the eventual plea agreement, one of the counts and a special enhancement were dismissed.
Healy scheduled a review hearing for March 7 at 1 p.m. to determine the next phase of De Lima’s sentencing, which would be 45 days, or 90 days credit for time served, from her original remanding to the Calaveras County Jail. As of Friday, De Lima has served 26 actual days, or 52 days credit for time served.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Healy reminded De Lima that the time-served credit was not an assurance and said, “while we are planning on being done on the seventh, you still have to earn it.”
De Lima signed multiple documents and shuffled her papers before making a phone sign with her hand toward her ear and returned to the custody of the Calaveras County Jail.