Against her wishes, former Miss USA Rima Fakih will have to soon face trial for her alleged DUI after a Michigan judge refused to give the beauty queen more time to prepare her defense, according to a report from The Detroit News.
District Judge Brigette Officer told Fakih that legal proceedings had dragged on long enough after her December DUI arrest, and that Fakih would soon have to stand trial for her drunk driving charges.
Fakih, a 26-year-old from Dearborn, Michigan, had been charged with misdemeanor drunk driving after her arrest on December 3. The police report from the incident claims that Fakih has been driving erratically at high speeds, and had failed to use a turn signal.
Perhaps more troubling for the Dearborn native than her alleged erratic driving, though, was the presence of a half-empty bottle of Moet & Chandon Champagne behind the driver’s seat of her flashy 2011 Jaguar.
After her arrest, Fakih’s blood alcohol content was measured at 0.19 and 0.20, both of which are far above the state limit of 0.08.
Unfortunately for the former Miss USA, Fakih’s high blood alcohol level qualified her for conviction under Michigan’s ridiculously named “Super Drunk Law,” which allows judges to impose stricter penalties on first-time offenders.
Many states have enacted similar laws in recent years in an effort to deter more young drivers without prior DUI convictions to keep their records clean.
Prosecutors in this case, however, have chosen not to charge Fakih under the “Super Drunk Law” and instead are looking to impose a more routine sentence for a lesser charge, driving while impaired.
In the latest hearing, the judge apparently lost her patience with Fakih’s delay tactics. The first proceeding, scheduled for December 21, had been delayed because Fakih’s lawyer was unable to attend.
After Fakih made her latest request for a delay, the judge politely declined, and ordered Fakih to face trial on March 14. If she is convicted, Miss USA 2010 could face up to 93 days in jail, as well as potential fines or the loss of her driver’s license.
In many first-time DUI trials, defendants are often forced to serve some jail time, pay a fine, or perform community service, but judges typically do not impose the maximum possible sentence.
And, in many cases, defendants simply negotiate with the judge or prosecutors to enter a plea bargain, which typically involves an admission of guilt in exchange for a lighter sentence. This option still remains open to Fakih.
States like entering plea bargains with criminal defendants because it saves the time and hassle of a trial, while still holding the drunk driver responsible for his or her actions. This reality might help Fakih escape a harsh sentence.