Kerry Kennedy Alleges Drug Mix-Up at DUI Trial
Kerry Kennedy’s DUI trial began on Monday, February 24th, alleging that the niece of the late president John F. Kennedy caused a car accident while under the influence of a sleeping aid.
The 43-year-old Kennedy alleges that she accidentally took an Ambien, rather than her thyroid medication, before getting behind the wheel of her Lexus. The unfortunate drug mix-up led her to cause a car accident with a tractor-trailer, continue to drive, and then fall asleep behind the wheel further down the road. She stopped at the next exit, and investigating officers gave her a field sobriety test, which she failed.
Witnesses testify that they saw Kennedy slumped over in her car on the night of the 2012 DUI accident.
Kennedy and her attorney admitted that she took a strong sleeping pill, which caused her to drive erratically, leading to the DUI accident and charges. Blood tests at the time revealed the drug Zolpidem in her system. Her defense attorney alleged that the medication “hijacks your ability to make decisions.”
Prosecuting attorneys, however, charge that Kennedy was still in the wrong for the DUI accident, because she should have pulled over when she felt the onset of symptoms.
Because “sleep-driving” is so common in those who take Ambien or its generic versions, the drug features a warning label: “Patients should be cautioned against engaging in hazardous occupations requiring complete mental alertness or motor coordination such as operating machinery or driving a motor vehicle after ingesting the drug.”
This is Kennedy’s first DUI charge, meaning it is a misdemeanor. The trial is expected to last for one week.
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