In a post we published last week, we explored the case against influential personality, Kerry Kennedy. She was facing charges after an accident and said it was a sleep aid, not alcohol, which had impaired her driving. Readers can refer to that post for more background information. The case was just one of thousands of impaired driving cases that are prosecuted every year in New York, but it gained national attention for many reasons.
To begin with Kennedy is a well-known public figure who is the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and former wife of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The case also sparked a national conversation about the risks of sleep-driving. And finally, it seems to be a strong example of how effective it can be for people facing charges related to drugged or drunk driving to defend themselves.
Kennedy was recently acquitted of the charges she faced, and her attorneys focused heavily on the fact that Kennedy had simply made a mistake in her medication before the accident. Instead of taking her regular thyroid medication, Kennedy had inadvertently taken the powerful sleep aid, Ambien. Many New Yorkers are familiar with this medication and may even take it on a regular basis. But doing so and then driving can be a dangerous combination.
Although the prosecutors argued that Kennedy should have pulled over once she started to feel the effects of the Ambien, many people know that it is not that simple. The drug effects can come on strong and quickly, making it difficult for people to know what to do, especially if they do not realize they took the drug in the first place.
The charge was dropped, but many people argue that the case should have never even made it to trial. Kennedy’s attorney stated that the case only went that far because of how well-known Kennedy is. But Kennedy herself offered a different perspective, stating that she feels lucky to have the legal support that others may not have access to. In some cases, people may not even realize that they have the right to speak with an attorney to defend themselves.
However, this case should serve as a strong reminder that being accused of impaired driving does not mean that a person is guilty, and that having legal representation can be very important in pursuing the reduction or dismissal of charges.
Source: ABC News, “Kerry Kennedy ‘Incredibly Grateful’ for Not Guilty Verdict,” Colleen Curry, Feb. 28, 2014