California residents may have heard that that the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard was taken into police custody on May 25 after he was accused of driving under the influence of alcohol in New Mexico. Security at a downtown Santa Fe restaurant reportedly notified the authorities after they spotted the playwright attempting to drive while possibly intoxicated.
When the authorities arrived at the scene, the 71-year-old actor stated that he had two drinks and intended to drive home. The responding officer stated that Shepard's pickup truck had the emergency brake engaged and that he did not pass a field sobriety test. He additionally reportedly had bloodshot, watery eyes and smelled of alcohol. He allegedly refused to take a breath test.
This was not the first time that Shepard has been charged with a similar offense . In 2009, he was reportedly charged with DUI in a small town in Illinois while going 16 mph over the speed limit. He ultimately pleaded guilty, was placed on 24 months of supervision and was fined $600.
Being accused of driving while impaired can be extremely problematic. Such a charge can lead to a driver's license suspension as well as other significant penalties. These consequences become much more likely if the person in question has a prior drunk driving record. A criminal defense attorney may potentially defend a client against the charges by questioning whether or not the authorities properly administered breath or field sobriety tests. In other cases, it may be possible to agree to enter an alcohol diversion program as an alternative to incarceration.
Source: FOX News, "Actor Sam Shepard arrested for drunken driving in Santa Fe", May 26, 2015