Introduction to Extreme Accounts of Driving Under the Influence
When it comes to driving under the influence, whether it is from drugs or alcohol, people of all walks of life have been caught in some pretty extreme situations. Lay people and celebrities alike have been caught driving under the influence, whether it is just barely at the legal limit of blood alcohol concentration, or it far surpasses that permitted amount.
Classifications of Driving under the Influence Charges
Charges for driving under the influence can arise from a higher than legal blood alcohol concentration of alcohol in the driver, or even the presence drugs – legal or illegal.[i] When it comes to driving under the influence of alcohol, the legal limit is set at a 0.08% blood alcohol concentration, and this legal limit is set across the United States.[ii] This is a standard driving under the influence charge. The higher the blood alcohol concentration, the more severe the driving under the influence charge is.[iii] A driving under the influence charge can be elevated to severe and even extreme charges classifications. The blood alcohol concentration for the severe and extreme charges will vary depending on the state.
Charges for driving under the influence of drugs varies greatly from state to state.[iv] The reason for that is because some states in the United States have legalized the use of marijuana, which is a common drug that leads to driving under the influence. For states that do not have laws to legalize marijuana, the majority of those states have a no tolerance rule.[v] This means that if a driver is found to have any marijuana or any other illegal drugs in their system, they will likely lead receive a driving under the influence charge.
When it comes to driving under the influence charges for the use of legal prescription drugs, or even over the counter drugs, the standards are the same for driving under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol. If a person takes a prescription drug, one that could cause drowsiness or especially one that states do not operate heavy equipment, the driver could be pulled over by law enforcement if they show signs of impaired driving.[vi] In some states, driving while tired can even result in a driving under the influence charge – if the driver appears to be impaired.
Driving Under the Influence Statistics
Despite the strict laws and possibly devastating consequences, the number of drivers who are pulled over and arrested for driving under the influence are in the millions each and every year. In 2015, 1.5 million people were pulled over and arrested for impaired driving.[vii] The average number of people who die every year from drinking and driving incidents are upwards of 10,000 people.[viii] The age group that has the highest percent of arrests for drinking and driving are those between the ages of 18 and 24.[ix] Finally, 54% of arrests for driving under the influence arise from consumption of beer while only 25% are from liquor.
Celebrity Driving Under the Influence Stories, and Other Cases
Despite all the information available and well-known consequences about driving under the influence, people of all walks of life end up driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol – and for some people it becomes heavily publicized.
In 2014, former Partridge Family star, David Cassidy, was arrested for his third driving under the influence charge after blowing a 0.19% blood alcohol concentration.[x] Despite his third arrest, Cassidy will not face any jail time.[xi] Instead, Cassidy will serve five years of probation and has to stay at a live in rehabilitation facility for 90 days.[xii] There will also be varies fines and other alcohol educational classes as a requirement of his punishment.[xiii]
Also in 2014, well-known pop star Justin Bieber was arrested for driving under the influence.[xiv] There were alcohol and prescription drugs in his system at the time of his arrest.[xv] After failing the breathalyzer test on site, Bieber was booked into the local jail but later bonded out.[xvi] At the time of his arrest, Bieber was driving twice the speed limit in a 30 mile an hour zone.[xvii]
It does not really matter where you are drinking and driving, you will still be breaking the law and thus eligible for arrest. In December of 2013, a man was arrested in the drive through of a McDonalds in North Carolina.[xviii] What started the incident was the intoxicated man had hit the car in front of him while in the drive through.[xix] While there was no damage to the car he had tapped, it still gave rise to an incident – especially since the intoxicated driver tried to flee the scene before police could assess the situation.[xx] When police finally did arrive, the intoxicated man blew a 0.20% blood alcohol concentration – which is more than twice the legal limit.[xxi] The man had no valid driver’s license at the time, which was because it was suspended from a previous driving under the influence charge.[xxii] For this incident, the man received two years of probation, court fees, and will spend twenty-three weekends in the local jail.[xxiii]
Also in 2013, a man from Iowa City was found with a lethal amount of alcohol in his system.[xxiv] His blood alcohol concentration was at 0.467%.[xxv] A lethal amount of alcohol typically falls between 0.40% blood alcohol concentration and 0.50% blood alcohol concentration.[xxvi] Since everyone metabolizes alcohol at a different rate, this Iowa City man was lucky that his body could handle such an extreme blood alcohol concentration. When the intoxicated man was found, the man was in his home unable to stay standing upright and he smelled strongly of alcohol.[xxvii] When the man took the breathalyzer test, the initial reading was at the 0.467% as reported, but the second reading simply showed an error message. Apparently even the breathalyzer machine could not believe how intoxicated this man was.
An interesting, and entertaining story comes out of Australia. A man was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol while riding on a motorized beverage cooler – which was also transporting more of his beer.[xxviii] The man was also charged with driving with a license. The man’s attorney argued that the motorized cooler was not a vehicle and as such, the man could not be charged with a DUI.[xxix] Either way, it makes for an entertaining story.
A family in South England, New Zealand, one family had an incredibly unfortunate night of drinking and driving. Around midnight, fifteen-year-old son was pulled over for drinking and driving.[xxx] The young man blew three times the legal limit for youth in that country.[xxxi] When the young man called his mother after the arrest so she could go and pick him up from the police station.[xxxii] Along her drive to the police station, the mother was also pulled over and arrested for drunk driving.[xxxiii] She also blew twice the legal limit for an adult in that country.[xxxiv] Once both mother and son were arrested and stuck at the police station, the mother called her husband to come and pick them up.[xxxv] Along his way to pick both his wife and son up for drinking and driving, he was pulled over for drinking and driving.[xxxvi]
Apparently, some people do not know when to call it quits. A driver, who was trapped in his upside down car after crashing, was waiting to be rescued and decided to open yet another car of beer.[xxxvii] He explained to the judge he did not have anything else better to do while waiting.[xxxviii] The judge banned the driver from driving for ten months and gave him $1,100 in fines.[xxxix]
Being arrested for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol can happen to anyone – even people without a driver’s license. Whether this person has yet to reach the legal age of obtaining a license or has had their license suspended or even revoked – the consequences are the same and they are severe. A young man from Romania was on his way to take his drivers test again, but before he could do so, the examiners became suspicious of his actions.[xl] The young man was apparently unable to walk in a straight line and had difficulty standing up straight.[xli] The examiners were able to give the young man a breathalyzer test on site and sure enough, he was intoxicated.[xlii] The young man claimed that he was just nervous about his exam and needed something to calm himself down.[xliii] The young man had initially lost his license for a drunk driving incident.
Conclusion to Driving Under the Influence – Extreme Accounts
When it comes to drinking and driving, all different types of people tend to engage in the activity. Despite all the material on drinking and driving, the punishments, and the grave consequences of the action – millions of people engage in the activity every year. According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, someone in the United States dies every 33 minutes from an alcohol related accident.[xliv] Based on many of the accounts listed above, far too many people do not take drinking and driving seriously. The driver is not the only person at risk – everyone on the road is at grave risk while someone is drunk at the wheel.
[i] See Michelle Fabio Marijuana DUI: How Marijuana Use Can Be Considered a DUI. Legal Zoom. (Published October 2014). https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/marijuana-dui-how-marijuana-use-can-be-considered-a-dui
[ii] See Impaired Driving: Get the Facts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Accessed May 27, 2016). http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html
[iv] See Michelle Fabio Marijuana DUI: How Marijuana Use Can Be Considered a DUI. Legal Zoom. (Published October 2014). https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/marijuana-dui-how-marijuana-use-can-be-considered-a-dui
[vi] See How Legal Drug Use Can Lead to a DUI or DWI. NOLO Legal Encyclopedia (Accessed May 27, 2016). http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/dui-legal-drug-use-30320.html
[vii] See DUI Arrest Statistics. Statistics Brain. (Accessed May 27, 2016). http://www.statisticbrain.com/number-of-dui-arrests-per-state/
[x] See Partridge Family star David Cassidy arrested for DUI for the third time with blood alcohol level ‘more than twice the legal limit’. Daily Mail UK (Published January 11, 2014). http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2537758/Partridge-Family-star-David-Cassidy-arrested-DUI-time-blood-alcohol-level-twice-legal-limit.html
[xi] See DUI and DWI Blog. DUI.com (Accessed May 27, 2016). https://www.dui.com/blog/
[xiv] See Justin Bieber arrested on drunken driving, resisting arrest charges. CNN. (Published January 24, 2014). http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/23/showbiz/justin-bieber-arrest/
[xviii] See DUI and DWI Blog. DUI.com (Accessed May 27, 2016). https://www.dui.com/blog/
[xxviii] See 9 Unbelievable Drunk Driving Stories. ODDEE. (Published August 25, 2011). http://www.oddee.com/item_97874.aspx
[xxxvii] See 9 Unbelievable Drunk Driving Stories. ODDEE. (Published August 25, 2011). http://www.oddee.com/item_97874.aspx
[xliv] See DUI Statistics. Arizona Department Of Public Safety. (Accessed May 27, 2016). http://www.azdps.gov/information/Impaired_Driving/Statistics/