Athletes and celebrities often make the headlines when facing DUI charges. Last week, Yankees pitcher and former Seattle Mariner, Michael Pineda was arrested and charged with driving under the influence in Florida. He is in Tampa rehabilitating from a shoulder injury.
When a public figure is arrested for drunk driving, it makes the news. Even when the individual no longer holds a public position, his or her reputation let alone freedom is on the line.
Our criminal justice system works under the premise of innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The court of public opinion however, works a little differently. For that reason a Kirkland, Washington, woman's criminal defense attorney made a rather unusual request for his client when his client appeared before the judge in her arraignment hearing on charges of vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and driving while impaired. Because the defendant has young children, she requested to have her face obscured from the media during the hearing.
At certain times during the year, state and local law enforcement will step up their efforts to catch drunk drivers. The holiday season, including New Year's Eve, Fourth of July, and Labor Day can mean an increase in local and state efforts to pursue, arrest and charge drivers with drunk-driving. Drivers in the Seattle, Washington area should also be wary of the increased risk of drunk driving arrest from now through Labor Day.
Celebrity DUI charges are often the first to make the headlines. Earlier this month, Randy Travis, the Grammy-award winning country singer was arrested by a Texas state trooper for drunk driving and retaliation. The country star was allegedly drunk driving and crashed his car.
Here in Washington state, when drivers are pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence, they often refuse to take a breath test. It is their right to do so, but the decision can then be used against them in court as circumstantial evidence of their guilt. Of course, drivers do not always make the decision to refuse a breath test because they think it will prove they are drunk; they often refuse the tests simply because they are notoriously inaccurate.