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North Carolina doctor facing DUI charge

In North Carolina, a person can be arrested for drunk driving even if his or her blood alcohol level is just above the legal limit. Moreover, a Breathalyzer or field sobriety test does not necessarily offer absolute evidence, and a mere allegation of drunk driving is just that: an allegation. That may be worth keeping in mind with regards to a story that appeared in the news recently about a doctor who is facing a DUI charge.

Police in Wilmington, North Carolina, pulled over the doctor's vehicle on March 6 near Savannah Court along South 17th Street for alleged erratic driving. At the time of the traffic stop, he was wearing scrubs, but the hospital he contracts with, New Hanover Regional Medical Center, says he did not work that day and that he was not scheduled to work on the following day. Regardless, though, of whether he was leaving or going to work at the time, police charged him with driving under the influence.

The DUI came after a field sobriety test was given to the doctor. Those results will nonetheless be important in any subsequent trial, especially since in this case, he may also face disciplinary action from the American Anesthesiology Group, of which he is a member.

Here, the doctor is not only facing a DUI charge, but also potential action from a medical professional group, showing that the ramifications a person can face from such a charge often extend beyond the legal realm. However, an important thing to remember if you have been charged with DUI after a field sobriety test is that field sobriety tests are not scientific. There is room for error and sometimes police officers do not administer them accurately. There are several factors that can unfairly affect how a person responds in such tests, such as being tested on a hill. If such a factor is found to have been present in any case, the field sobriety test could be tossed from evidence.

Source: WECT TV6, "Contracted NHRMC doctor arrested and charged with DWI," March 7, 2012

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