In an unusual DUI case, the mother of an elementary student was accused of drunk driving while at the school to pick up her child.
She was arrested at the site. Authorities said she had been driving impaired coming up to the school, endangering students and staff. According to police reports, she almost hit another parent's vehicle in the student pickup line.
The police report that the woman, 39, unsteadily drove her Mercedes-Benz into the school pickup line at approximately 2:40 p.m. this past Monday. When doing so, she ran over carefully placed plastic lane markers.
This concerned an officer on the scene, who approached her car. He reports that the woman was disoriented and answered his questions with slurred speech. She seemed unsure about why she had gone over the markers.
She also claimed that she hadn't been drinking. However, she teetered when she got out of the car, needing to grab the door just to stand.
Sobriety tests were quickly administered. They allegedly demonstrated that the woman stood unsteadily, swayed when trying to stand on one leg and was unable to touch the tip of her nose. All of these are typical tests for sobriety, and the woman reportedly failed all three.
She was then taken into custody. According to the arresting officer, she reeked of alcohol. In his words, the scent was "clearly evident" and emanated "from her person".
The woman declined to do a breath test.
She as charged with driving under the influence. The judge decided to allow her be released from custody without posting bond. In his statement, he expressed concern that she would pick up her kids while impaired.
In addition to the six-year-old who attends the elementary school, the woman is also raising her two other children, who are 12 and 14.
DUI cases affect people of all ages in Arizona. They are particularly tragic when the lives of children are jeopardized, as in this case. However, just because the woman was charged does not mean she is automatically considered guilty. The prosecution is still required to prove her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Because there are so many variables to consider in a DUI charge, experienced legal professionals are often able to mitigate the charges or have them dismissed completely when a defendant's rights have been violated.
Source: Sun Sentinel, " Mother accused of DUI while in school's student pickup line" Erika Pesantes, Sep. 17, 2013