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O.C. deputy with prior conviction charged with DUI

October 18, 2011 |  1:35 pm

An off-duty Orange County deputy sheriff with a prior drunken driving conviction was charged Tuesday with driving under the influence after he was stopped while allegedly driving on the wrong side of the street toward a marked police car.

Mario Manuel Castro, 33, of Orange, was arrested by an Orange police officer on Sept. 30, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office. At the time, Castro allegedly had a blood-alcohol level of .24 percent, three times the legal limit.

In 2009, Castro was convicted of misdemeanor drunken driving in Los Angeles County, according to county prosecutors.

On Sept. 30, Castro  allegedly had several drinks at a Costa Mesa bar before being stopped by the Orange police officer for driving on the wrong side of the road.

Castro, a patrolman, remains on active duty pending a personnel investigation, said Jim Amormino, Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman. He was not dismissed from the department following the 2009 conviction because it was a misdemeanor. According to department regulations, conviction on a misdemeanor is not a fireable offense, Amormino said.

If convicted, Castro faces up to a year in jail. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Nov. 16, according to the report.

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 -- Sam Quinones

twitter.com/samquinones7

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