Recent incidents of celebrity DWI cases have been prominent in the news. The media aggressively reports every instance of a celebrity or sports star caught drinking and driving, and the accusatory tenor of that coverage has increased the public’s intolerance for such behavior.
The legal system generally embraces the idea that defendants are entitled to the same treatment as any other individuals, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or status. In theory, the criminal justice system provides DWI defendants, including celebrity DWI defendants, a fair and unbiased trial. Although the system strives to ensure a fair trial, “extra-legal” factors inevitably disrupt the outcomes of many celebrity DWI cases. Celebrity status is one extra-legal factor that has been cited as creating a potentially unfair influence in many DWI cases. Celebrity DWI cases are unusual because they naturally attract more media attention than non-celebrity cases. Celebrities charged with DWI tend to have access to better lawyers and can utilize the media to their advantage in these cases.
The Media and High-Profile DWI Cases
While celebrity status can be beneficial in some cases, celebrities also can be disadvantaged in DWI cases. High-profile defendants do not always benefit from the media attention that inevitably accompanies a celebrity DWI case. Due to heightened media attention, celebrities are often held to higher standards when facing a judge or jury in a DWI case.
A defendant’s celebrity status may impose a burden of perfection on them, and the legal system may be called upon by the public to make the defendant serve as an example to society in drunk driving cases. When a high-profile defendant is charged with DWI, the case receives media coverage and the media saturates the public with opinion and commentary pertaining to the case. This coverage may jeopardize the celebrity DWI defendant’s right to receive an impartial trial.
Are Celebrity DWI Defendants Above the Law?
The celebrity status of many DWI defendants sometimes allows them to be above the law. When a celebrity is charged with DWI, they may receive a lesser punishment and are usually allowed to continue working. Some celebrity DWI defendants who have notoriety and fame may also receive preferential treatment from the police.
The recent case involving actress Amanda Bynes brings up issues about whether celebrity DWI clients are treated leniently by the judicial system. Bynes was arrested on April 6, 2012 in Los Angeles after she struck a sheriff’s cruiser with her vehicle. During the course of the arrest, Bynes refused to submit a breathalyzer test or a blood alcohol test. Following her DUI arrest, Bynes was involved in a string of motor vehicle incidents, which included hit-and-run and driving with a suspended license charges. Bynes was given a penalty of three years informal probation and a fine for the suspended license charges.
In a report by The Los Angeles Times, it was announced that the hearing for the DUI charge won’t be until July 18, 2013. In the case, prosecutors might try to have Bynes’ probation revoked for her conviction for driving without a license. However, it is noted in the article that Bynes, who has since relocated to New York, does not have to appear in court for the misdemeanor DUI charge unless the case goes to trial. In a report by the Huffington Post discussing the possible penalties Bynes faces, it was stated that Bynes will probably not serve more than a few hours in a county jail for the DUI offense because of overcrowded jail conditions.
The attorneys with the DWI GUYS are experienced DWI cases. If you need a lawyer who can help you obtain the best possible outcome in your DWI case, call the DWI GUYS at 1-800-394-394-8326
DISCLAIMER: The exclusive purpose of this article is educational and it is not intended as either legal advice or a general solution to any specific legal problem. Statewide Defense with Corporate offices Central located for The DWI GUYS at 432 N. Franklin Street, Syracuse, NY 13204; Telephone No.: 1-800-394-8326. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.