Country music star Randy Travis may love you forever and ever (amen!), but he's likely singing the blues right now following an arrest on public intoxication charges earlier this month.
While details of the incident are still emerging, Mr. Travis may have been somewhat fortunate, as he could have faced a much more serious charge of driving under the influence. Reports indicate he was in his car, behind the wheel, at the time of his arrest.
Unfortunately, not everyone arrested for a DUI in Washington, D.C. has Mr. Travis' start power, which could have played some role in the lesser charges. Still, having an experienced Washington D.C. DUI defense attorney can help you haggle with prosecutors for a reduced charge. Depending on the circumstances, there may even be a chance to have the charges dismissed altogether - and you don't need to be a millionaire country musician to afford it.
In Mr. Travis' case, a number of media outlets are reporting the singer was pulled over in the parking lot of a church in North Texas, where police found him in front of the wheel. It's not clear whether the keys were in the ignition or if the car was even on.
Officers at the scene reported Mr. Travis, 52, smelled strongly of alcohol, and a bottle of wine was on the seat next to him.
He reportedly stumbled out of the car. When officers tried to speak to him, they said his speech was slurred. And when they asked for his driver's license, he fumbled trying to find it.
What may be important to consider here is that some of Mr. Travis' actions could be explained by nerves. It's not difficult to understand why someone would be anxious if he knew reports of an arrest would be published worldwide. Our Washington D.C. DUI defense lawyers know that while the average Joe or Jane may not have to contend with global press coverage of the incident, he or she could face serious and irreparable consequences if the news reaches an employer.
Travis was reported to have told the officers at the time that he and his wife had gotten into an argument, and he was trying to get home following a Super Bowl party. The fact that he pulled over and wasn't actually driving when officers started their investigation appeared to have worked at least somewhat in his favor, as evidenced by the lesser charge.
The penalties for a public intoxication charge, which is a misdemeanor, are typically much less severe than those for a Washington D.C. DWI. If you are convicted of a public intoxication charge, you could face up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine. Officers also have the option, though, to simply issue a citation and drop you off either at home or a nearby detoxification center.
A DWI or DUI, on the other hand, is going to bring a harsher punishment. For the first offense, you will face up to 90 days in jail and hundreds of dollars in fines, as well as license revocation for six months. If you are convicted of DUI a second time, you'll be facing fines of up to $5,000 and up to an entire year behind bars, as well as an additional 30 days of mandatory community service. Plus, you would lose your license for an entire year. Penalties would double on the second and any subsequent offenses.
All of these could seriously impact your wallet, personal relationships, employment and freedom.
That's why it's important that the first call you make following an arrest needs to be to your attorney.