What Can You Learn in Columbus from former “Saturday Night Live” star Chris Kattan’s recent DUI Arrest?

On Monday, former “Saturday Night Live” star Chris Kattan was arrested in Southern California for suspicion of DUI after he crashed his Mercedes Benz across a barrier of orange cones and flashing signs into the rear of a maintenance truck.  After being approached by police, SNL Kattan agreed to take Standard Field Sobriety Tests, a Breath Test, and a drug test.  A video of his field sobriety tests shows he failed miserably.  SNL Kattan reportedly admitted to investigating officers that he’d been taking prescription pills earlier that night.

What can Columbus viewers learn from SNL Kattan’s unfortunate incident?  Obviously, driving while under the influence of pills is bad idea, no matter who you are.  But Kattan made his situation even worse after he was questioned by the police.  Here are three lessons you can learn from a “Saturday Night Live” star, even while lounging here in Columbus:

1. Keep Your Mouth Shut.  What is so hard about keeping your mouth shut?  I always tell my clients, “Nothing good can come from talking to the cops.”  You do have to provide the officer with identification, and personal information such as correct name and address, but you are not required to answer any other questions.  And you should not do so.  According to the police, SNL Kattan admitted to taking prescription medications.  Do not lie to the Columbus police, or to any other law enforcement officer; but if the truth hurts, keep silent.  Sometimes telling the truth can hurt you just as much as lying.  There is no reason to do either.  Lesson from Kattan: You have the constitutional right to remain silent!  Assert it!  Politely decline to answer any questions until you’ve had a chance to speak with your DUI lawyer.  If you can’t reach a lawyer, politely refuse to answer any questions because you haven’t spoken with a lawyer.  The first lesson from SNL Kattan: “Keep your darned mouth shut.”

2. Do Not Take Field Sobriety Tests.  Our Columbus DUI attorneys read hundreds of police reports in DUI and OVI cases across Ohio, and most reports use the words “slurred speech” to describe the condition of the accused.  As you might imagine, those same words appear in the arrest report for SNL Kattan.  But a competent DUI/OVI defense attorney can handle this observation without difficulty, particularly when the accused was under the stress of an auto accident.  However, when you add poor performance on Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) to the evidence gathered by the police to use against you, their case can become much stronger.  You would be surprized how many people, no matter how sober, cannot pass the SFSTs due to balance or other deficiencies.  I often say, “You’d have to be a ballerina to pass the ‘Walk and Turn’ or  ‘One Leg Stand’ the way most officers administer them.”  Lesson from Kattan:  Don’t take the Standard Field Sobriety Tests!  You’re only providing the prosecution with more ammunition to use against you in the DUI case.  And in Kattan’s case, they really, really hurt.  Lesson learned: Politely decline to take any field sobriety tests.  Simply say, “I am not going to take any tests unless I have a lawyer here to advise me about them.”  Second important lesson from SNL Kattan: “Do not take any Field Sobriety Tests.

3.  Do Not Take a Drug or Alcohol Test.  Whether you’re in Columbus, Ohio, Southern California, or anywhere else: If you’ve been drinking or taking drugs (even prescription drugs) taking a breath, blood, or urine test is a terrible mistake.  If you’ve drinking (even “just 2 beers”) the odds of passing a breath test are not favorable, and the benefit to taking the test is not much.  In almost every case, Chris Kattan’s situation included, taking drug and alcohol tests only makes the case for driving under the influence stronger.  Third and final lesson from SNL Kattan:  If you’ve been drinking or taking drugs (even prescription drugs) then Do Not take any Drug or Alcohol Tests!  You’re only arming the prosecution with more evidence to use against you.

If you are arrested for DUI or OVI in Columbus or central Ohio, call one of our Criminal and DUI Defense Attorneys at 614-454-5010 for a free telephone and follow-up office consultation.  Learn how you can best defend against drunk driving charges in Columbus and central Ohio.

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