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Judge John E. Turner (Ret.)

Actor Christopher McDonald facing second drunk driving charge

Washington residents may know Christopher McDonald from his performances in films such as "Thelma and Louise" and "Happy Gilmore", but it is not the 62-year-old character actor's thespian talents that media outlets have been discussing. McDonald was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol in 2013 while visiting North Carolina, and media outlets are reporting that he is now facing a second DUI charge after crashing his car in California on Oct. 28.

According to a California Highway Patrol report, McDonald lost control of his Porsche Boxster as he attempted to navigate a curve on State Route 189 in Lake Arrowhead at approximately 8:45 p.m. Officers say that McDonald's car mounted a curb, struck a tree and hit a gas line at a nearby supermarket before coming to a rest. The actor has been charged under California's drunk driving laws, but initial reports do not indicate what his alleged blood alcohol level was at the time or how it had been determined.

McDonald is said to have been behind the wheel with a blood alcohol level of .15 percent when he was taken into custody by the North Carolina Highway Patrol in 2013. Individuals are considered impaired with blood alcohol levels above .08 percent in all U.S. states. The actor later referred to the incident as "unfortunate".

The penalties for repeat drunk driving can be severe, but the toxicology evidence that these cases hinge on may not always be reliable. Experienced criminal defense attorneys could challenge the accuracy of breath test results if maintenance logs reveal that the equipment used was not recalibrated on a regular basis, and even the results of blood tests may be questioned under certain circumstances.

Source: The Lake Arrowhead Mountain News, "Actor Arrested for DUI on Highway 189", Heidi Fron, Nov. 2, 2017

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