Posted by DUI attorney Nick Alcock, Phoenix Arizona

Rima Fakih’s reign as Miss USA was described as a victory for diversity. Supporters classified her win, the first for an Arab-American, as a progressive step towards countering negative stereotypes about people of Middle Eastern descent. But now the former Miss USA is facing a trial involving allegations of DUI.

Fakih was in a Michigan court Wednesday January 18 but could not reach an agreement with prosecutors. Judge Bridgette Officer set a trial date for March 14. Assistant City Attorney Mohammed A. Nasser stated that he was new to the case and had not had the opportunity to speak with Fakih’s DUI attorney. W. Otis Culpepper, Fakih’s DUI attorney, said he expects the case will be resolved prior to trial.

Officers stopped Fakih on December 3 in the Detroit area of Highland Park after they noticed her 2011 Jaguar weaving in and out of traffic traveling 60 mph in 30 mph zone. During the stop officers found an open bottle of champagne behind the driver’s seat. Two breath tests recorded Fakih’s blood alcohol content at 0.20 and 0.19. Fakih denies that she was ever drinking. She is charged with drunken driving, careless driving, and having an open container of alcohol. All charges are misdemeanors. Fakih faces up to 93 days in jail plus fines if she is convicted.

After her initial arrest Fakih posted a tweet insisting that people had the “wrong Fakih.” However, today, Fakih’s DUI attorneys described her as remorseful after her first appearance in court. Culpepper called Fakih a women of substantial charater and a role model for young women.

Fakih stood quietly next to her attorney in court as the trial date was set. She refused to speak to supporters as she exited the courtroom citing instructions from her attorney. For his part Culpepper told reporters that he was going to prepare for trial but is hopeful a plea bargain will resolve the case. He stated that he knows the proper conclusion will be reached.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration drunk driving fatalities were on the decline in 2010. 32 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico all reported fewer deaths. However, federal statistics show that 10,228 people were killed in alcohol related accidents in 2010. Drunk driving is reported to account for 1 in every 3 traffic deaths. Statistics for 2011 are not yet available.

In an attempt to deter drinking and driving during the Super Bowl the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has created Super Bowl marketing materials. Included in the materials are various slogans one being, fans don’t let fans drive drunk.

As a DUI attorney, I suspect that the efforts by NHTSA, while well-intentioned-will not be effective. After all, Arizona has made their DUI laws much harsher, and yet the overall number of DUI arrests goes up every year.

Posted by the DUI attorneys at Alcock & Associates Law Firm, located in Phoenix, Arizona.

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