Actor Matthew Fox was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) last week while driving near his home in Bend, Oregon. Fox was reportedly on his way to a fast food restaurant with an unidentified passenger in his car just after 3 o'clock in the morning last Friday when local law enforcement officers noticed him swerving on the road and not using his turn signals.
After being pulled over, officers at the scene determined that the actor was possibly intoxicated and arrested him. He was taken to a nearby jail and released later that day. So far police in Oregon have not indicated what Fox's blood alcohol content may have been at the time of his arrest, or even if he underwent chemical testing. Fox found fame playing the role of Charlie Salinger on the hit television show "Party of Five" from 1994 to 2000, then went on to star in several films as well as another hit television show, "Lost" from 2004 to 2010.
Fox's case underscores a very important feature of DUI cases: officers must first have a reason to pull you over before they check or arrest you for drinking and driving. Many people are afraid of going to jail if they are convicted, and rightfully so. While each case is different, many first time DUI offenders typically face probation, community service, court-ordered counseling and expensive fines if they are convicted. However, things such as prior convictions, speeding, having a child in the car at the time of your arrest, or having a blood alcohol content that is excessively high may, indeed, land you in jail if you are convicted.
A good lawyer, however, can tell you that there are a number of solid defenses to DUI charges. For example, police need a valid reason to pull you over. Simply suspecting that you may be driving while impaired by alcohol is not enough. Officers must first observe you either disobeying a traffic law, or driving in a way that is dangerous or reckless.