There are always two sides to every story. It is a truism that journalists, the public, and even we bloggers often forget. TMZ reported a few days ago that Katrina Darrell, a.k.a. the "Bikini Girl" who auditioned for American Idol in swimwear, was arrested for driving under the influence.
At the time, the story stated that Darrell had run a red light, "smashed into" another car, took off, and then was pulled over while trying to flee. She told the officers that she was taking her mother to the hospital after a fall at home but the officer allegedly smelled booze coming from the aspiring singer.
When she failed sobriety tests, she was arrested. She allegedly blew a 0.15 and 0.17, around twice the legal limit.
To TMZ's credit, they attempted to reach out to Darrell for a statement. In the Internet blogosphere, especially ones focused on breaking celebrity news, you can only wait so long for a response before you have to post the news. Otherwise, someone else will scoop you and your blog will die a slow and painful death.
The next morning, TMZ issued an update. This time, Katrina Darrell told her side of the story. Her mother had actually fallen and was bleeding from the head. She denies running a red light and stated that she voluntarily pulled over after realizing that she had been in an accident. She then called 911 and the police showed up.
Her defense to the DUI charge seems to be that she only had a couple glasses of wine at dinner and the police only made her repeat the Breathalyzer test until it got the result that they wanted. Without any further information, it seems that her defense might just fail miserably.
The number of glasses of wine that she consumed is irrelevant. Wine affects people differently, both in terms of felt intoxication and blood alcohol content. For a larger, heavyset man, two glasses of wine might barely bring him near the legal limit, or even lower. For a thin petite woman like Darrell, two glasses of wine very well might put her over the limit.
In addition, under California regulations, the police are allowed to repeat the Breathalyzer test if there is an error or no reading. It is also standard procedure to obtain two samples, fifteen minutes apart, in order to ensure accuracy. In fact, the police are required to wait fifteen minutes before each test, as they have to observe the suspect to ensure that they do not vomit, burp, or do anything else to interfere with the test.
In this case, the two samples are reported to have read 0.15 and 0.17. Assuming the machine was calibrated correctly and the police followed the proper procedures for taking the test, a defense of "they made me take it too many times" is probably not a winner in court.
Standard procedures, and the implied consent law aside, it would be pretty impossible to retest her enough to make her BAC rise from below 0.08 to above 0.15, unless the officer was evil and Darrell had pounded multiple Jaeger shots on the way out the door. More alcohol in the tummy means rising BAC until it is all digested. Neither is likely.
Guilty or not, the DUI probably will not hurt Katrina Darrell's career. She is a singer in a bikini, not a politician.
- Find a Los Angeles DUI Attorney (FindLaw)
- California DUI Laws (FindLaw)
- Bobby Brown DUI: Arrested in Broad Daylight in The Valley (FindLaw's Los Angeles DUI Blog)
- American Idol Bikini Girl, Katrina Darrell, Arrested for DUI (The Hollywood Gossip)