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D.A.'s Son Sentenced for Drunk Driving

Matthew Rackauckas is given 60 days in jail, fines and probation. His 5-year-old daughter was a passenger in the car. He had a prior conviction.

April 19, 2006|Sara Lin | Times Staff Writer

The son of Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas was sentenced to 60 days in jail Tuesday after pleading guilty to driving drunk with his 5-year-old daughter in the car.

Superior Court Judge Douglas Hatchimonji agreed to stay Matthew Anthony Rackauckas' sentence while the county Probation Department determined whether he could serve the time in home confinement.

Rackauckas is the second of the district attorney's sons to get into trouble with the law since their father was elected in 1998. In 2000, Anthony C. Rackauckas, 36, was found asleep in the nude with about 2 grams of cocaine and a pipe in his truck outside Irvine Regional Park in Orange. He pleaded guilty to possession charges and was placed in a rehabilitation program.

District attorney's spokeswoman Susan Kang Schroeder did not return calls seeking comment.

Matthew Rackauckas, 37, of Corona was driving east on the Riverside Freeway late Aug. 20 with a blood-alcohol level almost twice the legal limit when he drifted into the adjacent lane and hit a car, authorities said. His daughter, Alexis, was a passenger.

Rackauckas got out of his car to talk to the other motorist, smelled of alcohol and fell, reports state. California Highway Patrol officers arriving at the scene arrested him.

Rackauckas, who had a prior drunk-driving conviction in Riverside, initially pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of driving while intoxicated and child endangerment. But appearing Tuesday in a Fullerton courtroom, he changed his plea. Wearing a gray suit with his wife, Mona, sitting nearby, he admitted one count of drunk driving with the special allegations of having a prior conviction and a minor in the car.

The case was prosecuted by the state attorney general's office because of the potential conflict of interest by his father.

Deputy Atty. Gen. Melissa A. Mandel said the plea bargain offered to Rackauckas was standard for the crime. "It's very consistent with what anyone else in a similar circumstance would be getting," she said.

Carol E. Lavacot, Rackauckas' attorney, said her client accepted responsibility for his actions.

As part of his plea bargain, Rackauckas must pay a $390 fine, an additional $100 to a court restitution fund and several smaller fees. The judge placed him on five years' probation and ordered him to attend a 30-day alcohol treatment program and a victim impact panel sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

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