California man receives jail term for fight with deputy

A 35-year-old California man who fought with a Douglas County sheriff's deputy trying to arrest him on suspicion of drunk driving was sentenced Tuesday to 30 days in Douglas County Jail.

District Judge Dave Gamble told Paul Oviatt of Grass Valley his fight with the deputy could not go unpunished.

"It's inconsistent with reality to think an altercation with a peace officer would not have a consequence of active jail time," Gamble said.

The deputy arrested Oviatt on Jan. 2 after residents of an Indian Hills neighborhood reported a truck had been parked for more than two hours with the driver passed out.

Oviatt's lawyer, Derrick Lopez, said his client had become upset after visiting relatives and parked on the dirt road to drink.

The officer said Oviatt was passed out on a pile of clothing in his truck.

As the deputy got him out of the vehicle, Oviatt reportedly elbowed the officer and continued to fight as he put him in handcuffs.

Oviatt said he only had "flash memories" of what happened.

"I want to express my deep remorse to the officer," Oviatt said. "It's not in my nature. I do understand that I did mess up."

Oviatt said he had completed a 60-day in-patient alcohol treatment program in California.

"I am doing my sobriety for me," he said. "For me to drink is to die."

He said he was attending 12-step programs and working with the treatment center.

Gamble said he believed Oviatt was sincere.

He suspended a 12-month sentence in Douglas County Jail and placed Oviatt on three years probation.

He must abstain from drugs and alcohol and cannot enter a bar or casino unless it's to work in a restaurant.


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