Tiger Woods DUI Arrest—A Cautionary Tale

Red letters that read DUI

You’ve doubtless seen the news (and accompanying mug shots)–legendary golfer Tiger Woods was recently arrested for driving under the influence. However, you may have also heard that Mr. Woods blew a 0.00 when completing two separate breathalyzer tests, showing no measurable amount of alcohol was in his system at the time of the arrest. Learn more about the circumstances surrounding Tiger Woods’ DUI, and take care not to let similar events land you in jail.

Surprising effects of medication

At 4:22 am on Monday, May 29, police in Jupiter, Florida came across a Mercedes SUV stopped in the right-hand lane of traffic. The car was running with its brake lights illuminated and turn signal blinking. When officers approached the car, they found Woods asleep and needed to wake him to ask how he got there. Based on the description of the damage suffered by Woods’ vehicle, it seems as though Woods was lucky to be alive. Police described the vehicle as having two flat tires, scrapes along the driver’s side, a broken tail light, and damage to the bumpers and rims.

When Woods was questioned about where he was heading, he attempted to cooperate with police questions, but offered confusing and inconsistent answers. According to the police report, when asked where he was going, “he stated that he did not know that he just liked to drive.” At a different point, he said that he was coming from a tournament in Los Angeles. The officers had him complete a series of field sobriety tests, which Woods failed badly. He was arrested and booked at a Palm Beach County jail, where he spent slightly over three hours before being released. He is due to return to court on July 5.

Long history of back pain

Woods has long suffered from serious back issues. He received the first of what would become a string of back surgeries in 2014, the most recent of which he underwent in April of this year. In recent months, Woods was forced to withdraw from a golf tournament due to back spasms. In a statement to the media after his DUI arrest, Woods explained that he was experiencing “an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. I didn’t realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly.”

In Florida, as in California, criminal charges for driving under the influence can result not just from alcohol consumption or illegal drug use, but also from prescription drugs that impair a driver’s ability. Woods’ claim that he didn’t understand how the drugs would affect him might not serve as a successful defense in court. Drugs known to impair the ability to drive frequently come with warnings explaining the risk of getting behind the wheel. Additionally, since Woods has been taking various types of painkillers for years, the judge might also conclude that he should have known how these drugs impacted his driving abilities.

Drivers are expected to learn how the drugs they take will affect them before they drive, and are not absolved of responsibility for impaired driving simply due to ignorance of the effects of a drug. If you have begun to take a new prescription drug, be sure that you understand how the drug could alter your ability to drive before getting behind the wheel to avoid the risk of facing criminal charges or injuring yourself or someone else in an accident.

If you are facing criminal charges for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Southern California, seek a seasoned, aggressive, and dedicated DUI defense lawyer by contacting Ventura criminal defense attorney Paul Tyler for a consultation, at 805-889-9000.

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