Los Angeles Dodger James Loney won’t face charges for DUI, despite his erratic behavior after his car accident. Mr. Loney was driving his Maserati and hit a number of cars on a California freeway. When the police contacted him his behavior was described as, “erratic.”
He submitted to a number of tests (after he initially bit off the breath testing machine’s tube) and the police were fairly certain that he was under the influence. However, all the tests came back negative. Mr. Loney’s case documents something that DUI attorneys have known for some time. Car accidents lead to head injuries. Head injuries lead to behavior that mimics alcohol intoxication.
Concussions cause people to be slow to respond to questions. Many people with concussions have slurred or incoherent speech. A concussion basically makes people act drunk.
And this is the problem that defense attorneys face when they represent people charged with DUI who have been involved in traffic accidents. So many times we see police reports describe our clients as confused with slurred speech. But if our clients were head-injured in an auto accident, how can you differentiate between intoxication and head injury? You can’t.
In Mr. Loney’s case. he was handcuffed and transported to a hospital where he was restrained. Mr. Loney woke up in the hospital bed clear-headed, but with a limited memory of how he got there.
So the next time you hear that someone was arrested for a DUI offense after being involved in an accident, keep in mind that their behavior could easily be the result of a head injury, and not intoxication. Fortunately for Mr. Loney, his tests came back completely negative. If he had any amount of alcohol in his system he probably would have been charged with DUI. His DUI attorneys would have to show that his condition was a result of his accident, not his drinking.
DUI attorney Nick Alcock