Yep, we’ve all had them. Wake up, stub your toe, shower is cold, dog chews your shoes and you’re late for your meeting. All of those make for a very, very bad day. None of those make for the kind of bad day DUI defendant Wayne Benoit had this past Tuesday. According to this news report, Benoit was witnessed driving his vehicle in a swerving manner that nearly caused him to hit a bicyclist and was pulled over likely for suspicion of DUI. Upon making contact with Benoit, police immediately smelled alcohol on his breath and subsequently performed field sobriety exercises. Field sobriety exercises are a series of exercises that supposedly test an individuals ability to do more than one thing at a time. In theory, if one is impaired, his ability to perform these exercises will be impaired which in turn is supposed to show that he is too impaired to operate a motor vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration creates and supports these tests and has some that are standardized (used in nearly every DUI investigation) and others that are not. Ultimately, after determining that Benoit was too impaired to operate his vehicle, police arrested him for DUI. Then the fun began for all involved. Upon learning that he was on his way to pokey, Benoit allegedly began to strain in an effort to soil himself as he believed it would prevent the police from arresting him. Unfortunately for Benoit, though he did have great success in one of his efforts, his underlying reason for straining didn’t work out as he was ultimately arrested for DUI.
Upon arrival at the police station Benoit gave a blood alcohol reading of .20. Though there are many ways to impeach the credibility of field sobriety exercises (prior injury to a person, comparing the walk and turn to a balance beam, comparing the finger to nose test to Simon Says, etc) going to the bathroom on yourself purposely isn’t one of them. Not only did he render a very high blood alcohol test of which the prosecution will focus on, he hand delivered the argument that he was so drunk he thought crapping his pants was a reasonable defense to DUI. Had Mr. Benoit had an “accident” which could be said to have caused his erratic driving and later refused the breath test, he may have had a defense. In fact, I once worked on a case in which that defense was nearly used at trial. Unfortunately, Mr. Benoit will likely not only be saddled with a DUI he has now made national news and will not doubt be the focal point of many legal blogs this week. In fact, Mr. Benoit may have a few more crappy days ahead.
Jason Mayberry is an attorney located in Clearwater, Florida practicing throughout the Tampa Bay area. Our practice focuses on Federal and State criminal defense, personal injury and medical malpractice, and family law. Thank you for reading our blog and if you have questions or are in need of an attorney, please do not hesitate to call us at 727-771-3847 or visit us on the web at www.pinellas-dui-attorney.com.