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Actor and Pulitzer Prize-winner, Sam Shepard, was recently arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated (DWI).
Police were alerted to the actor's alleged drunken driving after restaurant security where Shepard had eaten complained about a possibly intoxicated driver. Security told officers that a man was trying to leave the parking lot, but his emergency brakes were engaged.
Police reportedly caught up to Shepard and pulled him over.
When police made contact with Shepard, they allegedly smelled alcohol on Shepard's breath and his eyes were bloodshot. Shepard claimed he only had two tequila drinks, but failed a field sobriety test. Shepard was arrested for suspected DWI and is spent the night in jail.
Refusing the Breath Test
Reports indicate that Shepard had refused to do a breath test during the stop.
The Fifth Amendment allows you the right to not incriminate yourself. This applies to breath tests and field sobriety tests. You can refuse to do those (although your license may be suspend if you refuse a Breathalyzer). However, if the officer has enough probable cause, such as observing the odor of alcohol on your breath and your erratic driving, you will probably still be arrested.
Once arrested, you can have a choice of a breath test or a blood test. Unlike the breath test during the stop, you must submit to one of these tests. If an officer gets a warrant, all bets are off and you can be legal forced to submit to a test.
No More Alcohol
Since this is his second DWI, if convicted, Shepard faces a 2-year license revocation, a minimum of 4 days and a maximum of 364 days in jail, a mandatory $500 fine, up to five years probation, and use of an ignition interlock device for 2 years.
New Mexico law makers are trying to make the punishment even harsher. In 2013, lawmakers introduced a bill that would forbid people convicted of drunken driving from buying alcohol anywhere. Despite early support, the bill died, and has been reintroduced earlier this year.
Earlier this year, Oklahoma has also proposed a similar bill that would also make it a felony to sell or provide alcohol to people with an "alcohol restricted" license.
Currently, Alaska is the only state that allows judges to order DUI convicts to not buy alcohol for a certain amount of time.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.