The younger of the two Dhaliwal brothers involved in the 2007 San Francisco Zoo tiger attack pleaded no contest in San Mateo County Superior Court today to giving false information to a police officer. Amritpal Dhaliwal, 21, and his brother, 25-year-old Kulbir Dhaliwal, were arrested early Wednesday morning in San Mateo after an officer allegedly found an open bottle of vodka in their car. Amritpal Dhaliwal was arrested for giving a fake name to the officer, and this afternoon appeared in court dressed in an orange jail suit and with an attorney from the private defender program. After pleading no contest, he was sentenced to 10 days in jail. He has credit served for two days because he was unable to post bail due to violating his parole for a felony conviction in Santa Clara County for failing to yield to a police officer. Kulbir Dhaliwal, who was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and resisting arrest, was released on his own recognizance after promising to appear in San Mateo County Superior Court on Sept. 17 to be arraigned. A San Mateo police officer pulled them over at about 1:45 a.m. Wednesday on U.S. Highway 101 near Peninsula Avenue after observing their car swerving onto the road’s shoulder, Assistant District Attorney Pitt said. The officer smelled marijuana and spotted an open bottle of Grey Goose vodka in the car, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. Kulbir Dhaliwal was given a breath test and was found to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.10 percent, Wagstaffe said. Meanwhile, Amritpal Dhaliwal, when asked for his identification, gave the name Tarlock Dhaliwal, Wagstaffe said. The officer eventually learned the brothers’ true identities and discovered that Amritpal Dhaliwal was on parole.
The brothers made headlines after they survived a tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo on Dec. 25, 2007. The tiger that escaped its enclosure killed their friend, Carlos Sousa Jr., and injured the brothers before being shot dead by police. Both brothers have faced various other legal problems since the tiger attack.
In December 2008, Amritpal Dhaliwal was sentenced to five years probation for shoplifting electronic equipment and video games from Target stores in Alameda County. Although he wasn’t sentenced to prison for his Alameda County case, the case prompted a Santa Clara County judge to sentence him in August to a state prison term for violating his probation in a felony reckless driving case in which he led police on a chase with speeds of up to 140 miles per hour through San Jose in April 2007. Amritpal Dhaliwal was sent to state prison the day of his Alameda County sentencing, Dec. 18, 2008. Kulbir Dhaliwal was arrested by San Jose State University police July 22 for allegedly being in possession of cocaine and for being under the influence of cocaine, according to Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Amy Cornell. Cornell said the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office sent the case back to police and has not filed charges against Kulbir Dhaliwal.
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