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New York case asks how intent plays into DUI charges

For the most part, cases where motorists are caught driving while intoxicated seem pretty straightforward. If there is evidence of drugs or alcohol in a driver's system, they are typically charged with some type of impaired driving charge.

A case in upstate New York, however, has brought up some interesting questions about how intent should play into DUI charges. According to law enforcement, the former wife of New York's governor caused an accident on a New York interstate in July of 2012 by driving under the influence. The woman's attorneys recently filed a motion to have the DWAI charges dropped because she had not meant to be driving impaired.

A toxicology report that was performed at a local hospital, following the accident, showed evidence of a prescription medication called Ambien in her system. Her counsel has suggested that she mistakenly took the sleeping pill, but prosecution remains firm that they should follow through with normal policy and take the case to trial.

Another test conducted at the same hospital did back up her claim that she blacked out from a seizure. It is not clear at this time if the accident occurred after she lost consciousness or before. The cause of the seizure was not released, nor was it reported whether the Ambien could have been a contributing factor.

Criminal charges for driving while intoxicated can be very serious. If you have been charged with DUI, DWAI or DWI, and have not already, you may want to consult with an attorney to understand all of your options and the possible consequences you could face.

Source: The Armonk Daily Voice, "DA: Don't Dismiss Bedford's Kerry Kennedy DUI Case In Armonk", Michael Nocella, April 3, 2013

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