D.U.I. Dismissed For (Former) F.A.A. Administrator

On December 3, 2011, Randy Babbitt was the head of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (F.A.A.). Three days later, Babbitt was the former head of the F.A.A. In those three days, Babbitt was charged with a D.U.I. that led to his resignation.

According to the Washington Post, a Fairfax police officer stopped Babbitt for allegedly driving on the wrong side of the road. The officer administered a breath test with a result of .07, under the legal limit of .08. Babbitt was arrested and taken to a detention center where he took a second breath test with a result reportedly over .08. He was charged with D.U.I. (called O.V.I. in Ohio) and released. At Babbitt’s trial, the judge reviewed the cruiser video and concluded that the officer did not have justification for making a traffic stop. As a result, the case was dismissed.

Randy Babbitt’s case is a good example of why it is often helpful to contest D.U.I./O.V.I. charges. Cases that appear on the surface to be strong for the prosecution sometimes turn out to be not-so-strong when the D.U.I.defense attorney investigates the factual and legal issues involved in the case. For example, problems with administration of field sobriety tests or breath/blood/urine tests may weaken the prosecution’s case. There may also be mistakes made in the stop and arrest process that lead to evidence being excluded, as in Babbitt’s case.

In Babbitt’s situation, the case was dismissed because the evidence showed he shouldn’t have been stopped to begin with. Unfortunately for Babbitt, however, the dismissal of the case did not happened until long after the case was made public and Babbitt had already resigned. So much for the presumption of innocence.