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Kerry Kennedy found not guilty of drugged driving

A jury recently acquitted Kerry Kennedy of driving under the influence of Ambien, a fast-acting sleeping drug. The trial stemmed from an accident Kennedy was involved in July 2012. According to a USA Today report, Kennedy drove for several miles down a New York highway where she reportedly swerved dangerously through traffic, clipped a tractor trailer and even blew a tire. She even drove on a bare rim of her wheel before crashing into a ditch.

She was charged with drugged driving and faced up to one year in jail and the loss of her driving privileges. However, she insisted that she did not purposely take Ambien before getting behind the wheel, instead confusing the sleeping pill for her thyroid medicine. Her alibi was critical to the case because without the requisite intent, the prosecution could not prove every element of the crime necessary to convict her.

The jury of four men and two women apparently believed her story, despite the prosecution’s contention that she should be held accountable for her actions in light of her alleged mistake. Jurors declined to be interviewed after the trial, but it is possible that the prosecution’s constant references to Kennedy’s privileged upbringing probably rubbed jurors the wrong way.

The story is an important example of why it is prudent to have an experienced attorney at your side if you are charged with drugged driving (or drunk driving) in New Jersey. While having an attorney is never a guarantee that you will be acquitted, having legal counsel helps in ensuring that your rights are protected as you go through the process.

Source: USAToday.com “Kerry Kennedy acquitted of drugged driving,” Eric Shilling, Feb. 28, 2014

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