Jury Finds Kerry Kennedy Not Guilty for DUI After Taking Sleeping Pills
A four-day trial and jury deliberation for less than two hours led to a “not guilty” verdict for human rights activist Kerry Kennedy in a trial alleging misdemeanor DUI from prescription drugs.
Kennedy is the former wife of New York governor Andrew Cuomo, the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and niece of John F. Kennedy.
At her trial, she was accused of negligent driving after she took a prescription sleeping pill. She stated that she accidentally took the sleeping pill instead of her thyroid medication.
There were several witnesses to the DUI accident, who testified that Kennedy was driving erratically. However, both the prosecution and defense agreed that she took the sleeping medication by accident. Her trial hinged on whether or not she realized she was impaired before the accident and should have pulled over.
“If I realized I was impaired, I would have pulled over,” Kennedy told the jury.
On July 13th, 2012, Kennedy took the wrong medication, then got behind the wheel of her Lexus SUV. She hit a tractor trailer on a highway, then at an exit down the road, law enforcement found her slumped over in the driver’s seat. She was charged with misdemeanor DUI because it was her first offense.
“She had a lot on her mind that morning. And she took the wrong pill by mistake,” prosecutor Doreen Lloyd told jurors. “However, it also makes no sense whatsoever that at no point did she realize or feel tired or dizzy or drowsy. That makes no sense,” she said. “She is responsible for the chain of events that happened after that.”
Defense Attorney Gerald Lefcourt told jurors, “This is a case with not a reasonable doubt — there is overwhelming doubt.”
He continued, “They’re arguing without any evidence that she realized; she says she didn’t. There’s nothing to the contrary. Reasonable doubt.”
South Carolina Laws Regarding DUI for Drugs
In South Carolina, you can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) of prescribed or over-the counter drugs or medication in addition to driving while under the influence of illicit drugs. States are under pressure to tighten laws for convicting DUIDs and set clear legal definitions. For now, DUID lawyers may have more opportunities for reducing and expunging driving under the influence of drug charges. Note: A DUID that involved illicit drugs may have other criminal drug charges attached.
The penalties for a conviction of driving under the influence of drugs are identical to the consequences of a DUI conviction in South Carolina.
If you are pulled for driving under the influence of prescription drugs or medication, you may be asked to submit to a screening test in which your urine is screened for the presence of drugs.
Circumstantial evidence may be used to prove that you were driving under the influence of drugs including how you were driving, how you appeared when you were pulled over, the recording of your field sobriety test, any chemical test results, as well as expert testimony.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with DUI Charges
If you face DUI charges, whether it is your first charge, or felony DUI, you could feel alone and afraid. Just because you have received DUI charges does not automatically mean that you are guilty. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm have helped people who face DUI charges since 1996. We offer free, confidential consultations so you can discuss the facts of your case with impunity. Contact us for help today. 803.252.4800