Articles Posted in Celebrity DWI/DUI

Michael Phelps, 29, the US. Olympic swimmer who holds 22 total medals (18 gold), has been charged for a second time with DWI and traffic infractions.  In the early morning hours of September 30, 2014, Mr. Phelps was observed by a Maryland Transit Authority officer near Baltimore allegedly travelling at 84 miles per hour in a 45 m.p.h. zone in his 2014 Land Rover.  Phelps apparently also changed lanes across double lines in the Fort McHenry Tunnel.

When the officer stopped Phelps’ vehicle, he requested that he take the standardized field sobriety tests, which Phelps was unable to successfully complete according to news reports.  After taking a breathalyzer, his blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was found to be 0.14%, well in excess of the 0.08% legal limit for DWI in Maryland.

Phelps faces three charges:  driving while under the influence of alcohol, “excessive speeding”, and crossing double lines in a tunnel.  Back in March of 2004, when Mr. Phelps was 19 years old, he was charged with DWI, DUI, and failing to obey a stop sign.  In the 2004 case, Phelps was able to get the charges reduced and was sentenced to a fine of $250.00, and given probation for 18 months. Continue reading

“Criminal Minds” star Thomas Gibson was charged with DUI in downtown Los Angeles in the early morning hours of January 6, 2013. He reportedly attempted to drive his Audi SUV through barricades that had been set up for a half marathon which was taking place later in the day. He was pulled over by police, who allegedly smelled alcohol on Gibson’s breath. The investigating officers requested that Gibson take a chemical test of his breath, but he supposedly refused to do so. Thus, Gibson was arrested on misdemeanor DUI charges, booked and released several hours later on $15,000 bail.

In New York, rather than DUI charges, (driving under the influence), Gibson would have been charged with DWI, or driving while intoxicated. Because Mr. Gibson also refused to take a breathalyzer, he is most likely facing two completely separate proceedings, as is the case in New York. First, he is charged criminally on the DUI charges, which if convicted of, he will face fines, a restriction of driving privileges, the requirement to take driver safety programs, and the possibility (albeit slight) of facing jail time, unless he has prior DUI convictions on his record. Secondly, he will in all likelihood have to appear for a “Refusal Hearing” to address his failure to comply with the officer’s request that he take a breathalyzer.

Additionally, in New York, if a driver is convicted or pleads guilty to a misdemeanor DWI charge, he or she is required to have installed in any cars he or she owns or operates an ignition interlock device (IID) for one year (although the statute says six months judges are routinely requiring the IID to be maintained for one year). The interlock device, which will not permit the vehicle to operate if the driver has more than a trace of alcohol on his or her breath, must be installed at the driver’s expense, and must be checked by the local county probation department on a monthly basis to determine if the driver has attempted to drive the car after drinking alcohol. Violations of the ignition interlock requirements can lead to separate charges against the driver, or to against another person if they attempt, for example, to blow into the device for the defendant.

Gibson also must defend against the administrative charge of refusing a chemical test. In the State of New York, if a driver is found to have refused to take a test of their breath, blood, urine or saliva, they face a one year revocation of their driver’s license and a fine of at least $500.00. This hearing is conducted at the Department of Motor Vehicles by an administrative judge, and is very one sided in that the judges are employees of the Department of Motor Vehicles and give considerable weight to the testimony of police officer, regardless of the circumstances.

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Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Alameda Ta’amu, 22, is facing a litany of criminal charges, including felony DWI charges after fleeing from Pittsburgh police in his vehicle on October 14, 2012 and striking several other vehicles while allegedly intoxicated. Ta’amu is a rookie for the team and is originally from Kent, Washington.

At approximately 2:30 AM on October 14, 2012, Ta’amu was reportedly driving his 2006 Lincoln Navigator erratically, including swerving across double yellow lines, passing red lights and speeding, when he was observed by an off-duty police officer. That officer noted that Ta’amu was entering an area where thousands of pedestrians were walking on the streets and sidewalks after having been to many of the local bars and restaurants. Alarmed, he radioed in to his headquarters, and an off-duty unformed officer drew his handgun and demanded that Ta’amu stop his vehicle. Rather than doing so, Ta’amu supposedly swerved his car and almost struck the officer, then sped away from the scene.

Mr. Ta’amu then disregarded additional officers on foot patrol who demanded he pull over. They reportedly had to dive out of the way of his speeding SUV. Ta’amu then crashed into several parked vehicles, including one occupied by 22 year old Jennifer Kosko, who is reported to have suffered a head injury. She was transported to the hospital and then released. After Ta’amu’s car was disabled from the multiple accidents, he attempted to flee on foot, and resisted arrest by ripping one arm away as the other was placed in handcuffs. Police allegedly were required to utilize 2 sets of handcuffs to restrain Ta’amu, who is 6’ 3” and weighs 348 pounds.

Blood alcohol testing allegedly revealed that Ta’amu had a BAC of 0.196, more than 2 times the legal limit of 0.08%. Ta’amu has been charged with 5 felonies, including “Fleeing or attempting to elude police officer”; “Aggravated Assault by Vehicle While DUI”; and three counts of “Aggravated Assault.” He is also facing misdemeanor charges of “Accident Involving Damage to Attended Vehicle”; resisting arrest; escape; and two counts of driving under the influence of alcohol. Lastly, Ta’amu has been charged with several traffic infractions, including driving on the right side of the roadway; obedience to traffic control devices, and accidents with unattended vehicles.

In all likelihood, Mr. Ta’amu will be facing extensive alcohol rehabilitation and treatment, but despite the severity of the charges, his status as a professional football player will likely work in his favor in a plea deal which will involve fines of at least $1,000-$2,500; a plea of guilty to the leaving the scene charges, and other possible charges such as disorderly conduct, but not the felony or misdemeanor charges. It is unclear if the prosecution will push for a guilty plea on any of the misdemeanors or felonies; if they do, it will probably result in a delay in the resolution of the case until it is not as much in the public eye. Ta’amu will also likely face civil liability for the injuries suffered by Ms. Kosko, but my strong expectation is that that case will be settled quickly by Ta’amu’s automobile insurance company.

Ta’amu was released on $25,000 bail. He was suspended by the NFL for two games. His next Court date has not been reported.

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On Sunday, June 10, 2012, New York Giants offensive lineman David Diehl was charged with DWI in Queens, New York. Apparently, at approximately 8:20 PM, after watching a soccer game at a bar in Astoria, Diehl entered his BMW and struck two parked vehicles on 35th Avenue near 31st Street. Diehl was arrested and brought before a Queens judge that evening. He spent the night in jail and was released on his own recognizance the following morning.

After being apprehended by police, Diehl submitted to a breathalyzer, which purportedly revealed a BAC of 0.18% of alcohol. Under the New York State vehicle & Traffic Law, anyone operating a motor vehicle in the State of New York with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of 0.08% or above is charged with a DWI. However, if the driver’s BAC is 0.18% or above, they are likely to be charged with aggravated DWI, which is a relatively recent enhanced charge that was first instituted in New York in 2006. Thus, although it has been reported that Diehl is being charged with DWI, the charges could be amended to include an aggravated DWI violation.

Since Diehl reportedly has a driver’s license issued in New Jersey, the New York Courts do not have jurisdiction to suspend or revoke his driver’s license on the DWI charge. In this situation, the Queens County judge suspended Diehl’s privileges to operate a vehicle in the State of New York, rather than his driver’s license, under the doctrine of “suspension pending prosecution.” Many people have the false notion that there is a constitutional right to a driver’s license, and express protest over this doctrine, since it is unknown whether the charges against Diehl will be proven. However, a driver’s license is a privilege, rather than a right, and thus, there is no valid constitutional objection to the suspension of a driver’s license or privilege pending prosecution.

If Diehl were to be convicted or pled guilty to the DWI charges, he would have his license revoked for a minimum of at least six months, be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in any vehicle he owns or operates for at least six months, have to pay fines and surcharges approaching $1,000, have to be assessed and possibly treated for alcohol abuse, pay additional fines to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles in the amount of $750.00 for what is called a “Driver’s Responsibility Assessment”, and be required to attend the Drinking Driver Program (DDP) at the conclusion of the criminal proceedings, which is a seven week program sponsored by the New York DMV.

If Diehl were to be convicted on an aggravated DWI charge, he would pay additional fines in the amount of approximately $1,400, and have his license revoked for at least one year. He would also be subject to the remainder of the above conditions of treatment, IID installation, alcohol screening and payment of the Assessment.

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On March 26th, Bobby Brown, the 43 year old ex-husband of the late Whitney Houston, was arrested on driving while intoxicated charges in Los Angeles. He was apparently observed speaking on a cell phone without a hands-free device when he was pulled over at approximately 12:30 PM. The arresting officer requested that Brown perform Field Sobriety tests, which he allegedly failed.

It has been illegal to speak on a cell phone without a hands-free device in California since 2009. In New York, the law was recently changed under section 1225 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law to make a cell phone violation a 3 point infraction, in addition to $150.00 fine for the violation.

Mr. Brown has a prior DUI conviction in Georgia in 1996 and served 8 days in prison. Fortunately for him, in California, DWI convictions remain on a driver’s record for only 10 years, so the 1996 Georgia conviction will not affect the outcome of Brown’s present charges in California.

After Brown was stopped on March 26, he submitted to a breathalyzer which reportedly revealed a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.12%, which is higher than the legal limit of 0.08%, The legal limit was reduced to 0.08% from 0.10% in California in 1990. If Mr. Brown is convicted or pleads guilty to the DUI charges in California, he is subject to a fine of up to $1,000.00, a possible jail term of up to six months, and a six month license suspension.

If Mr. Brown was found guilty of DWI charges in New York, he would be contending with a six month revocation of his driver’s license; a $500.00 fine and mandatory New York State surcharge of $400.00; be required to install and maintain an ignition interlock device (IID) in any vehicle he owns or operates for one year; be screened for alcohol/substance abuse, be required to attend a 7 week “Drinking Driver Program” sponsored by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (known as the “DDP”), and also be required to attend a Victim Impact Panel sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Further, he would be facing an additional fine of $750.00 known as a “Driver’s Responsibility Assessment” from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

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Earlier this month, Detroit Tigers All-Star third baseman Miguel Cabrera pled no contest to a drunk driving charge in Fort Pierce, Florida. By accepting a plea in the case, Cabrera will be able to avoid the possibility of jail time and get a dismissal of other charges surrounding his DWI arrest, including resisting arrest and having an open container in his vehicle.

Back in February of 2011, Mr. Cabrera was stopped by police in Fort Pierce, Florida at the side of a road with smoke coming out of the engine of his Land Rover. When police officers asked Cabrera to step out of the vehicle, it was reported that he grabbed a bottle of Scotch and took a drink before he complied. The officers noted that Cabrera had blood shot, watery eyes, and slurred speech.

Cabrera was apparently belligerent with the officers, and refused to take a breathalyzer. According to Cabrera’s attorney, the primary motivation for the plea deal was a concern that if they fought the case to trial, this would interfere with the 2012 baseball season, which commences with spring training next month.

By pleading to the DWI charges, Cabrera will be sentenced to a year of probation; a six month suspension of his driver’s license; fines of more than $1,400.00, required attendance at a Drinking Driver’s Program and a Victim’s Impact Panel sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Had Mr. Cabrera been found guilty of DWI charges in New York, he would be facing a six month revocation of his driver’s license; a $500.00 fine and mandatory New York State surcharge of $400.00; be required to install and maintain an ignition interlock device in any vehicle he owned or operated for one year; be screened for substance abuse, be required to attend a 7 week Drinking Driver Program sponsored by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (known as the “DDP”), and also need to attend a Victim Impact Panel. Further, he would be facing an additional fine of $750.00 known as a “Driver’s Responsibility Assessment” from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

With regard to the refusal to take a chemical test, if Mr. Cabrera was found to have refused this test in New York, he would be subject to a one year revocation of his driver’s license, fines of at least $500.00, and a restriction on his ability to obtain what is known as a “hardship license”, which is granted in certain circumstances during the pendency of a DWI case until its conclusion.

By accepting the plea, Mr. Cabrera was also able to obtain a dismissal of the criminal resisting arrest charges and the violation of having an open container of alcohol.

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Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver and “Dancing With The Stars” winner, Hines Ward, has been charged with driving under the influence in Atlanta, Georgia. The charges were initiated on July 9, 2011, when Ward’s 2009 Aston Martin swerved, striking a curb. A local police officer observed the erratic driving, suspected a DWI, and followed Ward. He observed Ward make several unsafe lane changes, which gave the officer probable cause to stop the vehicle. When confronting Ward, the officer claims to have observed his bloodshot eyes, flushed face, and a strong odor of alcohol coming from him.

Ward allegedly failed field sobriety tests. He apparently refused to take a chemical test when requested to by the officer. However, Ward agreed to take a portable alcohol test, the Alco-Sensor FST, at the scene of the arrest, which he may have known (or spoken with an attorney about) is not admissible in court. The Alco-Sensor reportedly revealed a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of 0.128. Similar to New York State, the legal limit for intoxication in Georgia is 0.08 percent or above.

Ward was booked in the DeKalb County Jail, and released the same night on a $1,000.00 bond. He is charged with the misdemeanor of driving under the influence of alcohol, which carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail, and a maximum fine of $1,000.00. Ward will also be facing a possible suspension of his driver’s license, regardless of the outcome of his DUI case, for refusing to take a breathalyzer.

A court date has not been set. If Ward were to be convicted of a DWI in New York, he would be facing up to a year in jail, a 6 month suspension of his driver’s license, a maximum fine of $1,000.00, surcharges, and the requirement to install an ignition interlock device in his vehicle for one year. Ward would also be looking at a 1 year revocation of his driver’s license if he was found to have refused the chemical test at the “Refusal Hearing” which is conducted by an administrative judge at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

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Former NBA and Michigan University basketball star Jalen Rose has been charged with driving while intoxicated in Detroit, Michigan. The charges stem from an incident on March 11, 2011 when Rose’s car slid off a roadway and crashed in Detroit. When police officers investigated the one car accident, Rose was asked, but refused, to take a breathalyzer. However, Rose agreed to take a blood test believing that his blood alcohol content (BAC) would not show that he was intoxicated.

Apparently, the results of the blood test have indicated that Rose was driving with a BAC above the legal limit. Similar to New York State, the legal limit for intoxication in Michigan is 0.08 percent or above. In New York, if a motorist is found to be operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.18 or above, he or she is charged with an aggravated DWI under section 1192 (2)(a) of the Vehicle & Traffic Law of the State of New York.

Rose is due back in Court on April 20, 2011. If he were to be convicted of a DWI in New York, he would be facing a 6 month revocation of his driver’s license, fines and surcharge of approximately $900, the requirement to install an ignition interlock device in his vehicle for one year, be screened for substance abuse, the necessity to attend a MADD Vitim Impact Panel, and a 7 week course at the conclusion of his case known as the DDP or Drinking Driver Program.

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On February 16, 2011, the Detroit Tigers all-star first baseman Miguel Cabrera was charged with DUI in St. Lucie County, Florida. A deputy observed Cabrera’s 2005 Land Rover with smoke coming from the hood on the side of the road and stopped to investigate. Allegedly, when the deputy approached Mr. Cabrera’s vehicle, he took a bottle of scotch and began drinking from it.

According to reports, Mr. Cabrera refused a breathalyzer and resisted arrest. In addition to DUI, he was charged with two misdemeanor counts of “resisting an officer without violence”, and a citation for a open container of alcohol.

Cabrera was released from the St. Lucie County jail on February 17 on $1,350 bond.

If Mr. Cabrera was charged with a New York DWI under similar circumstances, he would be facing at least a one year revocation of his driver’s license based upon the refusal to take a breathalyzer; fines and Court surcharges of approximately $900.00, would be required to pay a $750 “Driver’s Responsibility Assessment to the NYSDMV; be required to attend the Drinking Driver Program; and possibly be required to install an ignition interlock device in his vehicle for one year.

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David Cassidy, the star of the 1970’s sitcom “The Partridge Family”, accepted a no-contest plea in a Florida Court to DUI charges on February 16, 2011. Essentially, a no-contest plea means that there is no in Court admission of the charges, but the defendant does not fight them either. By taking the plea through his attorney, Mr. Cassidy was not required to be in Court to acknowledge his plea. Cassidy was also charged with failure to maintain a single lane, and an open container violation. Frequently, in New York, these charges would be dismissed in a plea to the top charge in what is called taking a plea to one charge “in full satisfaction” of the docket against the defendant.

Back on November 3, 2010, the 60 year old former teen idol was pulled over by a Fort Pierce officer who observed Cassidy’s car weaving in and out of traffic and veer off the roadway. Cassidy told the officer that he had a glass of wine and had taken a Hydrocodone earlier in the day.

Cassidy is alleged to have failed Field Sobriety Tests. A breathalyzer administered shortly after the arrest revealed a blood alcohol concentration of 0.14, well above Florida’s legal limit. Reportedly, the investigating officer found a bottle of bourbon in the vehicle.

Had this arrest and plea occurred in New York State, and Mr. Cassidy was charged with a New York DWI, he would be facing the following: a minimum six month revocation of his driving privileges; court fees of at least $900.00; the requirement to attend and complete the New York State Drinking Driver Program, (DDP), payment of $750.00 in fines to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles; (NYSDMV) (known as the “Driver’s Responsibility Assessment”) and the installation of an ignition interlock device in his car for at least one year.

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