There used to be a very old TV show hosted by Art Linkletter that had the tag line “Kids Say the Darndest Things.” Now that line could be rephrased – “Kids Film the Darndest Things.”

USA Today reported recently that a 10-year old filmed her mother driving while intoxicated. She showed Phoenix, Arizona police the video in which she and two other children under 15-years-of age yelled to try to get the mother to stop before she got into a car crash. When police arrived, the mother admitted that she had been drinking wine. The police noted that the mother had an “extreme odor” of alcohol, “bloodshot and watery eyes, a red, flushed face, slurred speech and mood swings.” For good measure the police also added that she wasn’t balanced, she swayed, and had to be helped by police officers so she could walk.

The mother refused to take field sobriety tests. The police then sought a warrant for a blood test. She was arrested on an aggravated DUI charge.

Lessons learned

While the humorous lesson to be learned is that maybe you should avoid giving your kid a cellphone, there are other serious, real issues raised by this case.

  • The first is that police will always take a dim view of any driver who drives while intoxicated with children in the car. They, prosecutors, and judges will likely be furious that the mother involved her daughter and two other children.
  • The second is that the police in most states, including Maryland, can’t force you to submit to field sobriety tests. Drivers do give their implied consent to these tests which means they can lose their license if they refuse the tests – but that may be better than being convicted because you failed the sobriety tests.
  • In most cases, the police will request that you take a breathalyzer test. Just like with the field sobriety tests, if you refuse, you may lose your license. Again, that may be better than a conviction based on a high blood alcohol content (BAC) reading.
  • The police can and normally will seek a warrant for a blood test if you refuse to submit to a breath test. This can take a while and there are arguments that can be made that the BAC at the time blood is drawn doesn’t fully reflect your BAC when you were diving.

A case like this is going to be hard to win, but it may not be impossible. A DUI defense lawyer could challenge the admissibility of the videos of a 10-year old daughter, I suppose.

The DUI defense lawyers at Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law, have been fighting for clients in Annapolis, Ellicott City, Centreville, and throughout the state for decades. We fight to dismiss field sobriety tests, breath tests, and blood tests that weren’t properly administered, or when there weren’t grounds for the tests. We work to reduce the charges through negotiation with the DA’s office. Our DUI lawyers are ready to try your case before a jury when necessary for justice. To speak with a skilled drunk driving lawyer today, call Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law – at 410.777.8103, or fil out our contact form to arrange a consultation.

And remember: Keep Calm – and Call Drew