Ravens' Quarterback Steve McNair Clipped by Tennessee DUI Law
By: Mary Ann Pekara
Recent cases involving DUI charges-including one concerning Baltimore Ravens' quarterback Steve McNair-reveal the importance of knowing the DUI laws in your state and being aware of certain misconceptions about DUI.
Last week, McNair was charged with DUI in Nashville, Tennessee even though he was a passenger in his truck. Specifically, McNair's brother-in-law Jamie Cartwright was driving his truck just shortly after midnight on May 9th when it was pulled over for speeding by police officer Harold Taylor.
An Associated Press story noted how Taylor detailed that Cartwright's breath smelled of alcohol and that the suspect admitted to having at least two beers. Police spokesman Don Aaron said that Cartwright failed a field sobriety test and refused a breathalyzer test. Cartwright was then arrested and charged with Tennessee DUI.
With that said, McNair was also charged with a misdemeanor under a Tennessee DUI law that prohibits a vehicle owner from letting it be driven by anyone who is inebriated. The Tennessee DUI law in question does not consider whether the passenger was drinking but rather only takes into account whether the driver was drinking and driving.
Aaron added in the story that this DUI law in Tennessee has been used to cite 42 other people this year. McNair issued a statement through the Ravens stating that he would now have to go through the legal process and see what happens.
McNair was a former MVP quarterback with the Tennessee Titans. While a member of the team, he was charged with Nashville DUI in May of 2003. However, those charges were later dismissed when a judge determined that police did not have sufficient reason to pull over McNair.
Man Charged with Ohio DUI despite Passing Breathalyzer Test
While you may not be aware that you may be charged with a crime when allowing someone to drive your vehicle while intoxicated in some states like McNair was in Tennessee, you may be under the impression that you may not be charged with DUI after passing a breathalyzer test.
This is not always true as a recent case involving a man charged with Ohio DUI reveals. Russell Errett was pulled over in Lancaster, Ohio early in the morning of April 20th after police noticed his vehicle weaving in traffic.
Just hours before being stopped by police, Errett played basketball with friends and later went out with them. Errett claimed to the officer that he had one drink that day and was the designated driver of his group of friends.
The police report noted that Errett failed a field sobriety test and then was arrested. Upon being brought to the police department, Errett maintained his innocence and passed a breathalyzer test with a score of zeroes. He was still cited for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, or OVI for short.
Errett later had to post a $1,000 bond and pay to get his car out of an impound lot. He was also written a ticket and now faces a court date later this month. His Ohio DUI attorney, James Linehan, argued in a Lancaster Eagle Gazette story that his client should not have been charge with OVI.
Ultimately, both this and the McNair case reveal how common beliefs about DUI are not necessarily true and convey the importance of clarifying your questions about drunk driving with a DUI lawyer in your area.