BAKERSFIELD, CA - It's something that's never been done in Kern County, until now. A real Superior Court judge handed down a sentence to two convicted DUI offenders outside the courthouse in front of hundreds of students.
Kern County is the 40th county in the state to try this out. It's meant to show students the consequences if you're caught driving drunk.
It was set up like a real courtroom with a real Superior Court judge, bailiffs, attorneys and defendants, but the setting and audience were a little different.
The courtroom was set up in a room at Rabobank Arena so hundreds of kids could watch a DUI sentencing.
"It's a reality check for at least the hour when they're here," said Brian McNamara, the presiding judge over the sentencing and the Superior Court judge who handles many DUI cases in Kern County.
The sentencing was part of the 14th annual Leaders in Life Youth Conference.
"If we can get through to one kid that makes a difference, that's good enough for me. But, if we can get through more that, that was the idea of this whole event and the people who put it on," said Judge McNamara.
For the first defendant it was her second DUI offense. She was ordered to pay $1,930 for court fees, take a class, serve 30 days work release and three years probation. The sentence shocked students.
"I wouldn't risk it," said Ilda Rincon, a senior at Wasco Independence High School. "Seeing the girl going to college, I wouldn't risk it."
"It is worse than I thought," said George Espinoza, a junior at Wasco Independence High School. "I thought it would be that bad, like you had to pay a little fine or something, but it's pretty bad."
The second defendant was in custody. It was his first offense, but he was sentenced to 90 days in jail because he had passengers in the car he was driving.
"If it were to happen, it like probably is going to mess my life up when I'm older," said Jackelin Ponce, junior at Wasco Independence High School.
"This is kind of a warning of the consequences and effects that might happen for DUIs," said Espinoza.
These defendants were given the option to appear in front of the students. Both agreed, and we're told neither was given special treatment for cooperating.