DUI & Ebola (Don't Make Ridiculous Statements)

Question: My son was arrested in Cherokee County the other night. He was coming from a night out that he told me included stops at Sidelines Sports Grille, Barbecue Street and Williamson Bros. Bar-B-Q. He told me he had a few beers at each place. He was out partying with some of his friends from Kennesaw State University.

On his way home he got stopped by a Cherokee County deputy. He said something stupid. He told the deputy that he had Ebola. He told the officer that he needed to get to the hospital and he said that he wasn't feeling well and the cop should back off. Why he told the deputy that, I'm not sure. He said the deputy at first looked shocked, then scared. Then he told the deputy that he was just joking. Apparently the deputy sheriff didn't find his statements funny at all.

He made my son get out of the car. Then he arrested him for DUI and some other charges. I know my son doesn't have the best judgment, but this was really dumb. What do you think his Ebola statement will mean for his DUI charge? He has to go to court in Cherokee County.

Answer: While having a sense of humor is important in life, the use of levity during a police interaction is most of the time unwise. The deputy sheriff will almost certainly include your son's statement in the police report and he would certainly include it in any testimony that he would provide in court. It's probably captured on video.

With the news media reporting daily about the Ebola outbreak in Africa, and now with the first reported Ebola case in the United States, your son's statement, in the context of a police stop, will likely be seen as an indication that he was intoxicated. A prosecutor could point out that stating you are afflicted with a life-threatening viral infection is not something a sober person would do during a traffic stop.

Making statements to a police officer that are obviously not true can provide a judge or jury with reason to suspect that a person is intoxicated on drugs or alcohol and it certainly undermines his credibility.

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