A popular biblical quote proclaims that one should "judge not lest ye be judged," but when a DUI case involves a prominent individual — especially one affiliated with a religious organization — judgment runs rampant.
A Catholic school principal was recently accused of drunk driving after being pulled over for driving erratically along I-75. Rob Fortener, the principal of Holy Angels School in Dayton, Ohio, will keep his job for the time being pending an investigation by Dayton police and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati regarding his suspected DUI. In an e-mail sent out to parents, the pastor of Holy Angels stated that Fortener is in no way a danger to the students of the school and will remain as principal until the issue is formally resolved.
Across the country, well over a million drivers are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs every year. When a person is charged with a DUI, they often suffer consequences even before their case has been heard. Shame, embarrassment and regret are the most common immediate results. Just as important, an individual's reputation, image in the community, career ambitions and personal relationships can suffer setbacks.
A DUI may include jail time, fines, license suspension, vehicle confiscation and increased insurance costs. The financial consequences can be devastating if an accident related to the DUI results in criminal restitution or a civil judgment that includes punitive damages. Or, in the case of someone held to a higher standard such as Rob Fortner, the penalty may involve more than just saying a few Hail Marys — the damage to his reputation in the eyes of students and faculty, coupled with public pressure, may very well lead to his termination.
Every state has its own laws and consequences for driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated. The penalties and sanctions for each offense depend upon the person's prior record, the level of alcohol involved and other factors. Because of the potential severity of the charges and collateral consequences, it's critical to consult with an experienced attorney who can assist with immediate damage control as well as provide effective criminal defense.