DUI is a serious offense, one never to be taken lightly, and one requiring expert legal defense to ensure the best possible outcome for anyone charged with something so serious. If you are accused of driving under the influence in South Carolina, are attempting to challenge a DUI arrest in South Carolina, or have had a South Carolina license suspension due to a DUI arrest, it’s important to have someone represent you who understands South Carolina DUI laws. As a member of the National College of DUI Defense, and because I practice DUI law in South Carolina, I have the opportunity to review a plethora of new and interesting cases every week. Occasionally, I run across an incidence of DUI that can certainly be classified as unusual, to say the least. This week, in particular, I stumbled across a few such crazy DUI cases … and to Bubba Cromer DUI attorney, they certainly gave me pause to wonder.
Last week, a Mexican motorist was pulled over by police at a routine alcohol checkpoint in Mexico City. The officers had no reason to suspect there was a problem, until the driver’s pet parrot blew the whistle on him. When the gentleman in question was asked to step out of the car and take a field sobriety test, the police heard what they thought was another individual in the car. Asking the driver to step aside while they searched the car for someone else, the police were shocked to discover a talking parrot in the backseat. The parrot was repeatedly saying “He’s drunk, he’s drunk, he’s drunk.” (Really? You ‘gotta wonder, who has this parrot been listening to?)
Mexico measures intoxication with something similar to a field sobriety test in South Carolina, the Mexican that indicated a blood alcohol level of well over the legal level of intoxication, the driver was arrested and transported to El Torito, the city’s “drunk tank” where intoxicated individuals are allowed to spend the night and sober up. Check this out, because South Carolina DUI laws never allow it: while the bird was eventually taken away by the Animal Surveillance Brigade, he was returned to jail to be with his owner out of fear the bird was die from sorrow at being separated from the man.
So how often do pets figure in to a DUI case? Apparently more often than you would think. Take for instance the case of a northeast Florida man who blamed his pet squirrel for a DUI charge. The driver confessed to police he drank a few beers Saturday night and was driving with his pet squirrel when he was pulled over. Police reports show
the man told the officer he wasn’t drunk, but “had a squirrel eating him” and that’s when he pulled out the small squirrel he had wrapped under his shirt. Rather than the beer causing him to nearly hit two pedestrians and another car, he blamed it on the squirrel. The squirrel has been appropriate renamed DUI (pronounced Dew-ee).
And then there’s the story of the man who took his pet zebra and a parrot to a bar. A man was arrested outside of a bar with a pet zebra and a macaw parrot in the front seat of his truck. Officers charged him with OWI. Police stopped him in the parking lot of the Dog House Lounge as he drove away in his truck. Field sobriety tests showed he had a blood alcohol level of .14. The legal limit in Iowa is .08, and there is a zero-tolerance policy for drunk driving. (You can bet someone’s in the dog house now!)
The driver and his girlfriend see the animals as their children and often take them for rides. On this particular night, they took the zebra and the macaw to the bar because it often lets people bring their animals inside. The says the owner told him they were serving food that night and he couldn’t bring a zebra inside the bar; however, the bar’s owners report that no animals are ever allowed inside the establishment.
At that time he went outside to put the animals in his truck and several people were in the parking lot taking pictures. He believes one of those people called police. The man disputes the charges and says he realized he was too drunk to drive and was about to let a passenger in the truck to take the wheel when he was arrested.
In my 26 years of practicing DUI law in South Carolina, this experienced DUI defense lawyer from Columbia, South Carolina, must say, I’ve never run across a case quite like any of these. I can only wonder … what were they thinking? Good thing none of these folks were arrested for DUI in South Carolina!
J.L. Mann (Bubba) Cromer is an Attorney in Columbia, whose practice focuses on DUI Defense, Criminal Defense & Probate Administration and Estate Planning. Admitted to practice in South Carolina, California & The District of Columbia, “Bubba” has been in practice for 26 years. In addition to his Solo Practice at Cromer Law Offices, LLC, Bubba Served as the only true Independent In the S.C. Legislature from 1990-1998. For the past 16 years, he has Served as the Reading Clerk of the House.Bubba resides in Columbia, S.C and Rosman, N.C. where he built a cabin 4 years ago. Bubba lives with his Hungarian Golden Retriever Casper.