Drinking and driving is a serious offense. And although celebrities don’t always get the same treatment as Fall River DUI drivers, they do get drunk driving charges. You can learn what to do (and what not to do) from their experiences. Here are four surprising celebrity DUI stories:
1. Michael Phelps
In the world of celebrity DUI’s, Michael Phelps certainly stands out. The Olympic gold medalist might have won 23 Olympic medals, but he couldn’t pass a breathalyzer test. Maryland police pulled him over for going 84 mph in a 45 mph zone on I-95 in Maryland. In addition to speeding, he was weaving in and out of his lane and into oncoming traffic. He repeatedly crossed the double yellow lines. According to police, Phelps’ eyes were “red, bloodshot and his speech was mush mouth.” Phelps failed his breathalyzer and registered a .14, almost two times the legal limit. When asked to do a field sobriety test, Phelps declined. Police arrested the Olympian and he was charged with drunk driving. Phelps plead guilty to the charge and was placed on probation.
Phelps had been out gambling at a casino and had too many drinks. This wasn’t the swimmer’s first incident, and this time it was a wake-up call. After his arrest, Phelps decided to get help. He cleaned himself up in a rehab facility. Since then, Phelps has come back to win a gold medal at the Rio Olympics.
Prior drunk driving charges hurt Phelps’ case. Another mistake was not communicating clearly with the officer. Having “mush mouth” doesn’t help your case. And finally, he submitted to the breathalyzer when he knew he wouldn’t pass.
2. Randy Travis
Police arrested Randy Travis, the late country singer, for drunk driving in 2012. But it’s not your typical celebrity DUI story. It all started when he was spotted naked inside a convenience store. After going back into his car, he crashed into a barricade. He was naked, bruised, and drunk when police came to the scene. Travis threatened one of the officers and refused to take a breathalyzer. And although he did spend that night in jail, he didn’t have to do it in the nude. Police officers gave him some clothes and a hat. However, Travis did remain shoeless.
A blood draw later revealed that he was well above the legal limit. It wasn’t until several months later that he was officially charged with drinking and driving. A $2,000 fine, community service, and rehab were all consequences of his DWI charge.
The musician was charged with public intoxication only months before his arrest. He continued to have legal trouble after this run-in with the law.
What can you learn from his story? The biggest takeaway might be the obvious one: don’t go into a convenience store naked.
3. Michael Chiarello
Police pulled over Food Network star and celebrity chef Michael Chiarello in Napa County at 3:27 am on a November night in 2016. The chef was only a few miles away from his restaurant; he was driving home for the night. After finding evidence of drugs in the car, police arrested Chiarello for suspicion of driving under the influence and possession of a controlled substance. He spent a few hours sitting in a jail cell. A judge set bail at $5,000.
This celebrity DUI was big news, considering that Chiarello had sexual harassment charges pending. The drunk driving charge only added to his trouble. One of Chiarello’s major mistakes was possessing a controlled substance. A drinking and driving charge is one thing. But Chiarello did even more damage when he was caught in possession of a controlled substance.
4. Scott Wilson
In the Walking Dead TV series, Scott Wilson plays a recovering alcoholic. But the real Scott Wilson wasn’t in recovery, at least not before police charged him with drunk driving. At about 2 am in 2012, police were alerted that there was an erratic driver on a Georgia road. When police pulled over the car, 70-year old Wilson was sitting behind the wheel. He told officers that he had been drinking scotch and wine at a restaurant. Instead of doing a sobriety test, he asked to do yoga poses. He complained that the road was too slanted to do the field test. Wilson had a .143 blood alcohol level and he was charged with drinking and driving, but it’s unknown if he spent any time in jail.
Wilson didn’t help his celebrity DUI situation. Making that comment about doing yoga only antagonized the officers.
How Can You Avoid a Drunk Driving Charge
When you’re drinking and driving, there is no sure-fire way to stay out of trouble. But there are ways you can make the situation better. Avoid taking a breathalyzer if you know you will fail. And don’t antagonize the officers. Don’t keep any illegal substances in your car. Whether or not you’re drinking and driving, stay fully clothed.
No one can get away with drinking and driving- not even celebrities. If police catch you drunk driving, you need all the help you can get. So if you’re a fall river DUI driver, look for a lawyer with experience.