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Future archbishop of San Francisco charged with DUI

 Posted on September 01,2012 in DUI

Many people buy in to the stereotype that people who are arrested for DUI are alcoholics, party hounds or just plain "losers." In reality, people of all backgrounds and from walks of life get accused of drinking and driving. Drunk-driving arrests often lead to convictions, of course, but frequently enough they are based on spurious field sobriety tests, miscalibrated breath testing machines, the effects of legal prescription drugs or other mistakes.

Society may wish to believe that successful, responsible people are never charged with DUI, but they do. Last Saturday, for example, the man chosen by the Vatican to become the next archbishop of the Archdiocese of San Francisco was arrested in San Diego on suspicion of drunk driving.

The 56-year-old bishop from Oakland was driving his elderly mother home after a dinner with friends when he encountered a police sobriety checkpoint. Officers at the checkpoint claim the bishop appeared to be intoxicated and they arrested him.

The bishop was held until morning, when he was able to post the $2,500 bail. His arraignment for the misdemeanor DUI charges is scheduled for October 9. If convicted, he could face jail time, up to three years' probation and an $1,800 fine.

In the meantime, the bishop has issued a public statement admitting that his blood-alcohol-content "was found to be over the California legal blood alcohol level." While not necessarily admitting guilt, he expressed shame and remorse for his actions and sought forgiveness from his friends, family and church.

It's important to remember that just because a breath test reading at a sobriety checkpoint indicates intoxication, DUI arrests do not always lead to convictions. It is only natural and politic for a future archbishop express contrition, as many people do after an arrest. If you're pulled over at a DUI checkpoint, don't be quick to condemn yourself. There are real and viable options for your defense.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, "DUI charge for future SF archbishop," Kevin Fagan, Aug. 27, 2012

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