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Judge John E. Turner (Ret.)

Tiger Woods police report contradicts earlier media stories

Washington residents may remember Tiger Woods best for his early career dominance and sublime technique, but the 41-year-old golfer been involved in several off-the-course incidents in recent years that have tarnished his reputation and hindered his comeback efforts. The latest such incident occurred during the early morning hours of May 29 when Woods was taken into custody by police in Florida on DUI charges.

Celebrity gossip websites and major media outlets quickly seized on the story. The rush to brand Woods a dangerous drunk was further fueled by a mugshot in which the four-time Masters winner looked disoriented and tired. However, subsequent police reports revealed that toxicology testing had found no alcohol in the professional golfer's system.

Media outlets then began purging their coverage of hearsay and innuendo, and they instead gave more credence to a statement made by Woods shortly after his release from the Palm Beach County Jail. Woods denied drinking and driving in the statement, and he claimed that his disoriented condition had been caused by an unexpected reaction to prescription medications. Jupiter police say that Woods was found unresponsive behind the wheel of his vehicle at about 3:00 a.m. and was taken into custody after failing a standardized field sobriety test.

When presented with information like this, experienced criminal defense attorneys representing clients charged with drunk driving may consider mounting an involuntary intoxication defense. This kind of defense strategy could also be pursued when evidence suggests that drinks may have been interfered with or defendants suffer from medical conditions that cause them to react poorly to even small amounts of alcohol or drugs.

Source: ESPN.com, "Tiger Woods found asleep in car at time of arrest; no alcohol found in breath test", Bob Harig, May 30, 2017

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