Don’t drink and drive is a message we begin ingraining into children as early as we possibly can. Yet every year people get behind the wheel after having a drink or two or more. That choice results in a very tragic statistic: a drunk-driving death occurs every 15 minutes. When celebs our kids look up to or those that we put in the “good girl/good guy” category are arrested and make celebrity news for drunk driving we feel let down. They’re smarter than that, aren’t they? Why would they risk their image, the fame they’ve worked hard to achieve? Their reasons are no different than those of regular folks. I didn’t drink that much or I was fine to drive, I wasn’t even drunk . . . And though it may seem as if celebs get off easier than others, the truth is, courts do not take first time drunk driving arrests all that seriously. If there is no accident and no injuries, most offenders get off with a proverbial slap on the wrist, which translated into sentencing terms, means no jail time, but rather a fine and an order to attend a drug and alcohol program. With that information in mind, let’s take a look at five celebrity DUI arrests that surprised us (at least, some of us!):
In May of 2012, Lost star Matthew Fox, who enjoyed a good reputation in Hollywood and was not known as a partier was arrested in Bend, Oregon on suspicion of driving under the influence. He was observed swerving on the road and failing to use his turn signals. He struck a deal in which he pled no contest to the charges and, among other things, was ordered to stay away from alcohol and to complete an alcohol treatment program. Recently, he spoke out about that arrest saying, “I was terribly embarrassed by that. I really own that and have done every single thing the state of Oregon requires for a first-time DUI offender. I have learned a ton. I did four weeks of alcohol informational training. And just learned an enormous amount.” What did Matthew Fox learn? He said he learned that 50 percent of people who get one DUI will get another. He was that pretty astounded by that and vowed not to be part of that statistic. Good for you, Matthew, we certainly do hope you learned your lesson–the consequences of not are way more serious than you being arrested again.
Funnyman Kevin Hart is not immune to making poor choices either. In April 2013, he was arrested after California HIghway Patrol clocked him at 90 MPH, driving erratically, and nearly colliding with a gas tanker truck. On the scene, Hart confessed to being drunk and when tested he had a BAC of .15, (the legal limit in California is.08). He was charged with two misdemeanor counts of DUI. He pled no contest to one count of DUI and the second one was dropped after he completed three years of probation and three months of alcohol education classes.
Justin Bieber seems to find trouble pretty regularly so maybe the fact that he was driving under the influence isn’t all that surprising. In January 2014, the pop star was arrested and charged with drunk driving, resisting arrest, and driving without a valid license. The deal his lawyer worked out with prosecutors? Plead guilty and receive 12 hours of anger management counseling, attend a program that teaches the impact of drunk driving and make a donation to the “Our Kids” charity. I hear the donation was quite large.
Jesse of Full House fame, John Stamos, was arrested for DUI in Beverly Hills in 2015 after several calls reporting a possible drunk driver. Stamos plead no contest, was placed on 3 years probation, ordered to complete 52 AA meetings in one year and attend drug and alcohol abuse program. It’s important to note that about after his arrest, he voluntarily checked himself into a treatment facility for substance abuse.
One more name that should be added to the list is Reese Witherspoon though the arrest was for disorderly conduct and not DUI, but alcohol did play a critical role (and the conduct is also seemingly so out of character for the perennially well mannered blonde that is interesting to discuss). Witherspoon’s husband, Jim Toth, was pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving and while an officer was performing field sobriety tests, Witherspoon exited the vehicle and refused to return to it after officers directed her to do so. And to make matters worse while being arrested, Witherspoon yelled, “Do you know who I am? You’re about to find out who I am.” Witherspoon has since apologized profusely and even commented that she has police officers in her family and believes in showing them respect.
It is clear anybody is susceptible to making a poor choice but we must continue to be vigilant in our message “Don’t Drink and Drive . . . ever” Fortunately, in the above incidents, nobody was hurt, but given the statistics, luck will not likely be on our (and these celebs) side the next next time.
Thanks to our friend and contributor, Jill Stanley of Proof with Jill Stanley, for her insight into surprising DUI arrests.