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Kennedy acquitted of DWI charge after explaining medication error

A member of the famous Kennedy clan has been acquitted in connection with allegations of driving under the influence of a drug. The woman, Kerry Kennedy, is the daughter of the deceased Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. She had been arrested for DWI after a strange incident in July 2012.

Authorities report that the 54-year-old woman was seen swerving off the road while driving on a New York interstate. The woman testified in court that she had accidentally picked up the wrong prescription bottle while taking her morning medication; instead of the intended prescription, she consumed 10 milligrams of the potent sleep aid Ambien. That medication caused her to drive erratically. She reportedly struck a tractor-trailer while driving in Westchester County. Officers said they found her slumped over her steering wheel with her vehicle stalled.

The woman admitted that she had been driving erratically, but she insisted that it was an honest mistake. Kennedy said she remembered making her morning coffee and preparing for the gym, but her memory of the morning becomes blurry after that. She said she was only roused after an officer knocked on the window of her vehicle.

Attorneys in the case encouraged jurors to determine whether the woman was guilty of DWI charges, even though she said she did not realize that she had consumed the sleeping pill. Kennedy maintained that she was in such an altered state after taking the pill that she did not realize it was having an effect. The woman would have ostensibly been convicted of the crime if she had intentionally continued to drive after realizing that she had consumed the wrong medication.

This case provides proof that an arrest for DWI charges does not mean that the driver is automatically guilty. The woman in this case made an honest mistake, and the jurors acquitted her based on her courtroom testimony and other evidence. A New York criminal defense attorney can help clients who are facing similar situations with their own DWI offenses.

Source: CNN, “Kerry Kennedy acquitted in DWI trial” Lena Jakobsson and Ray Sanchez, Feb. 28, 2014