“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.