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Claim: Kennedy DWI linked to sleep aid, not alcohol

Facing charges related to drunk or drugged driving can be devastating, especially for people who are considered to be public figures. Seemingly in the blink of an eye, the entire scenario in which someone was arrested can be reported, replayed and scrutinized by the media and the public. However, just as is the case for any person facing DWI charges in New York, he or she is innocent until proven guilty and has the right to defend themselves in court.

Recently, Kerry Kennedy found herself in the difficult position of defending herself against allegations that she was intoxicated when she got into a minor accident in July 2012. Kennedy is part of a very famous family and has a highly-recognizable name, as she is the daughter of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, which is why her case has been thrust into the spotlight. As unfortunate as this may be, it may serve as a crucial reminder of how important it can be to defend yourself against similar allegations.

According to reports, Kennedy has argued that she was not drunk at the time she struck a tractor trailer with her vehicle one morning. Despite the fact that police surveillance reportedly shows Kennedy failing multiple field sobriety tests designed to measure intoxication, she says that she was not drinking nor was she drunk at the time. 

Kennedy says that on the morning of the accident, she had mistakenly taken Ambien, a popular sleep aid, instead of her thyroid medication before heading out to run some errands. She had not intended to take the Ambien, which is why she did not know that she was at risk of falling asleep while she was driving. And before she could even react to the effects of the drug, she had fallen asleep at the wheel.

Kennedy plans to take the stand to recount her experience and hopefully prove that she had no intention of driving while impaired. It will be interesting to see if the jury sides with Kennedy or not. If they do not, she could be facing the possibility of spending a year in prison.

Source: CNN, "Kerry Kennedy DWI trial opens with video of sobriety tests, claim of 'sleep driving'," Allie Malloy and Lena Jakobsson, Feb. 25, 2014

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Lerner & Lerner, P.C.

Former prosecutors with more than 50 years of combined experience

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