A 37-year-old Tennessee woman was taken into custody on drunk driving charges following an incident at a West Nashville pizza restaurant. Officers were dispatched to the scene when a restaurant worker called police to report a possibly intoxicated person using the drive-thru window. According to media reports, the woman was convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol in October 2009 and December 2015. Her bond has been set at $5,000.
The officer who responded to the restaurant worker’s 911 call says that he found the woman sitting behind the wheel of her car with the stereo playing loudly. He also claims to have noticed an open container in the vehicle. When the officer asked the woman if she had been drinking, she was allegedly unable or unwilling to respond coherently. According to the arrest affidavit, the woman then exited her vehicle in an attempt to conceal the open container. When this attempt failed, the woman allegedly threw the container on the ground and stepped on it.
The police officer says that the woman called him a racist and threatened to take legal action against him when he attempted to take her into custody. He also claims that she admitted to consuming alcohol before driving. Initial reports do not reveal what steps police took to establish the woman’s blood alcohol concentration.
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives criminal suspects the right to remain silent when questioned by police, and the Sixth Amendment gives them the right to speak with a lawyer. Criminal defense attorneys with experience in drunk driving cases may advise individuals facing DUI charges to avail themselves of these rights. Admitting to consuming alcohol is unlikely to deter a police officer from making an arrest, but it could make it more difficult for the suspect’s defense attorney to negotiate a favorable outcome.