Could U.S. Hopes for Gold in 2014 Be Dashed by a DUI Charge?

December 8, 2010
By Daniel A. Gross on December 8, 2010 9:06 PM | | Comments (0)

Thumbnail image for 800px-Army_Bobsleigh_on_a_wall.jpgThe 2010 Winter Olympic Games this past winter really seemed to catch the interest of those in Washington, DC. I don't think it's that Americans really care too much about the events, but rather they love seeing the U.S. win. For those two weeks, our athletes were the pride of the nation. With the exception of the few professionals who compete in the games, these athletes don't expect a lifetime of endorsement deals and big paydays. One of my favorite radio hosts is Mike Wise of the Washington Post. I think he put it best when he said: the Olympic athletes are our two-week heroes, and we all love them until they are put back in the drawer for another four years until they can be dusted off for the next Olympics.

This past Olympics, Bobsledding became our new favorite sport. Steve Holcomb led his team of US Army soldiers to gold in Vancouver, and we all cheered. It's no surprise that bobsledding has never exactly been considered America's pastime. After the games, Steve Holcomb faded into obscurity with the rest of our athletes. That is until he got arrested for a DUI.

According to a story on ESPN, Holcomb was pulled over on October 22, 2009, for making an illegal U-turn on state Route 224 outside Park City, Utah. He was administered a breathalyzer and blew a 0.19, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08. He was charged with Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI). What makes matters worse is that Canada now refuses to give him a Visa to enter the country so that he can compete in the World Cup, because he has pending charges. His DUI trial is set for March 17, 2011. Let's hope his DUI defense attorney can get his drunk driving charges dismissed, or America might have to find a new hero in 2014.

Drunk driving laws are essentially the same in all states because of a national mandate that tied the 0.08 breath test limit to a state's eligibility to get highway funding. In Washington, DC, Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) requires the government to prove, through the use of blood or urine tests, that the defendant operated a motor vehicle while having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 grams per deciliter of blood. The government is not required to prove that the driver was actually suffering any type of impairment.

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