Using Ignorance as a Drugged Driving Defense

Posted by Ryan Russman | Jun 03, 2014 | 0 Comments

When a person is accused of drugged driving, they always have defense options. An experienced DWI attorney can help anyone build a defense and fight their charges, regardless of who you are. CNN reports that the 54 year old daughter of the late Robert F Kennedy, Kerry Kennedy, has recently been acquitted of DWI charges in New York.

According to the article, Kennedy was arrested in July of 2012 after she swerved off of the road and crashed her SUV into a tractor trailer. There were no injuries, but Kennedy was arrested and charged with drug related DWI after a drug test came back positive for a sleep aid called Ambien. What is interesting about this case, is that Kennedy and her attorney argued that the drug was taken by accident and caused her to black out. CNN writes:

Kennedy testified…that she grabbed the wrong prescription bottle from her kitchen counter that morning and swallowed 10 milligrams of zolpidem, a sleep aid also known by the brand name Ambien. Neither she nor prosecutors disputed the fact that she drove erratically after taking the medication and sideswiped a tractor-trailer in Westchester County before she was found, slumped over her steering wheel, her car stalled.

Kennedy also testified that she was completely unaware of the mistake until the results of her drug test came back positive for Ambien. She says she remembers getting ready to leave her home and getting into her vehicle but, after that, she is unable to recall the events. Her argument was that she didn't take the sleep aid on purpose and was unaware of her condition until after the accident when she was awakened by an officer.

This defense is an interesting one. While she accepted that she was impaired, she is denying responsibility due to ignorance. Essentially, the case came down to whether or not the jury believed that Kennedy was aware of her condition before the accident. Prosecutors argued that she must have felt side effects before she crashed and should have done the responsible thing and pulled off the road as soon as she realized what was happening. It seems that the jury did not believe this to be true as they found her not guilty after only a little more than an hour of deliberation, perhaps because Ambien was involved. The sleep aid has a proven history of causing people to operate vehicles and perform other behavior without having any recollection of it.

This case is a great example of why having superior legal care is important. If convicted, Kennedy stood to face serious penalties including jail time, license suspension and more. She did not believe that she was guilty, but drug test results said that she was. Had the same evidence been presented by a less experienced attorney, the results could've been drastically different. If you have been arrested for DWI in New Hampshire, contact an experienced DWI attorney in order to find out more about your defense options. A lawyer can help you challenge your charges regardless of the circumstances.

About the Author

Ryan Russman

Attorney Ryan Russman has dedicated his career to fighting for the rights of New Hampshire citizens. His practice, based in Exeter (Rockingham County) New Hampshire, is limited to cases involving DWI and DUI, other motor vehicle and criminal cases, and many cases involving personal injury. He is, however, best known as one of New Hampshire's leading legal authorities on DWI.


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment