Griffin O'Neal, the oldest son of actor Ryan O'Neal, was sentenced Friday to 16 months in prison for driving under the influence of drugs and causing a head-on collision in North County last summer that seriously injured the other driver.
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O'Neal, 47, pleaded guilty in November to DUI causing injury and being a felon in possession of a gun and admitted a 1992 conviction for shooting into his ex-girlfriend's unoccupied vehicle.
Before sentencing, Judge Eugenia Eyherabide struck the 1992 strike, saying it was 20 years old. Eyherabide gave O'Neal a choice: serve 365 days in jail and have a nearly three-year prison suspended or serve 16 months in prison at 80 percent. O'Neal took the 16 months in prison.
O'Neal was on probation for a 2007 DUI conviction when the crash happened at about 1 p.m. last Aug. 2 near San Diego Safari Park. O'Neal was arrested a month later.
Today, defense attorney Heather Boxeth called O'Neal's actions "inexcusable" and told the judge he has some serious substance-abuse issues to deal with.
O'Neal was set to be sentenced last month but did not come to court because he checked himself into a rehabilitation facility after bailing out of jail on a misdemeanor battery charge involving alleged domestic violence against his wife.
When O'Neal showed up in court the next day, Eyherabide told him he could remain in the rehab facility until sentencing.
Today in court, O'Neal apologized to the man with whom he collided, Sergio Reveles. Reveles faces surgery on his back as a result of the crash.
"I really do want to make him whole again," O'Neal told the court.
But Reveles said the accident has affected his life with his wife and two children.
"I'm not the same father I used to be," the victim said. "That hurts me a lot."
Prosecutor Vanessa DuVall said Griffin was charged after toxicology tests showed he had five different drugs in his system, including methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana and Xanax. She said two firearms and ammunition for both were found in O'Neal's car.
Besides the current conviction and the 2007 DUI conviction, O'Neal had a prior DUI conviction from 1990, DuVall said.
She called O'Neal a "serious threat to the community."
Boxeth told a judge last year that her client was trying to come to the aid of his 26-year-old half-brother, Redmond O'Neal, when he got behind the wheel the day of the crash.
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