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The Faces of DUI

031988388-guilty-man-court-room.jpegIt seems that not a week goes by without news of a Lindsay Lohan or Justin Bieber being arrested on suspicion of DUI. It's not just young Hollywood celebrities who are charged after a night of clubbing and heavy drinking.

It can be almost anyone.

On a weekday morning this past May, the driver of a shiny BMW sport utility vehicle swiped a parked car, and then rammed a gate several times. This was no ordinary traffic collision. The location was the parking lot of the Broward County courthouse, the damaged automobile was a police cruiser, and the person behind the wheel was Hon. Lynn M. Rosenthal, running for reelection this November as a judge of that court. She was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. She had not been drinking the night before, but instead had taken -- according to her, accidentally -- too much of the sleep medication Ambien. The DUI charge has been reduced to reckless driving in exchange for a plea deal that will keep Judge Rosenthal out of prison. She will be on probation for 3 months and must complete 25 hours of community service.

Just five days before the May incident involving Judge Rosenthal, a colleague from that same courthouse, Hon. Giselle Pollack, was suspended from her job after a DUI arrest. This action occurred while Judge Pollack was already on leave from the bench for having been intoxicated during court sessions -- twice. Only a few months earlier, another Broward County judge had been arrested on DUI charges.

Late on Sunday night, June 30, 2014, a Maryland man was stopped by a Somerset County Sheriff's Deputy for following another vehicle too closely. The driver was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and driving while impaired. The person detained was Michael Phillips, the Chief of Police of Fruitland, Maryland. He has been put on paid administrative leave pending resolution of the case.

In the early morning hours of Friday, August 22, 2014, Ben Hueso, a California State Senator representing San Diego, was driving a state vehicle in Sacramento. Sen. Hueso was spotted by California Highway Patrol officers at 2:24 am driving the wrong way on a one-way street. "The officers observed objective signs and symptoms of alcohol intoxication," said a CHP representative, who also indicated that a field sobriety test confirmed Hueso was under the influence of alcohol and "unable to safely operate the vehicle." The rising political star had attended a political reception on Thursday evening at a local restaurant followed by drinks at the Capitol. A photo of him on the Assembly speaker's balcony, with a drink in hand and singing with fellow legislators, was posted on Twitter. Sen. Hueso has issued an apology "for the unacceptably poor personal judgment" which he demonstrated. He faces criminal charges, and his state car privileges will likely be revoked.

Detroit City Councilman Scott Benson was recently charged with "super drunk" driving after police found him slumped over the wheel of his car in June. Police records indicate that Benson had a BAC of .224% (which is 3 times the legal limit).

A DUI arrest can happen after a seemingly-harmless evening of socializing or as a result of grogginess after taking a sleeping pill. The person taken into custody can be an ordinary citizen, a famous celebrity, or a respected member of the community whose job involves making and enforcing the laws on impaired driving.

In each case, the charges are significant and the consequences can be severe. A DUI can have serious adverse effects on a driver's personal and professional life and on the person's reputation.

f you have been convicted of driving under the influence in Ann Arbor, contact my law office for a consultation. I provide criminal defense representation to Washtenaw County residents charged with OWIs. 

Detroit councilman's DUI classified 'super drunk'

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