One of the many national pastimes we have in America is to keep a close eye on national figures to see if they get special treatment when they bend or break the law. Here in Kentucky, we recently got an up-close opportunity to watch as Sen. Rand Paul's 22-year-old son William was arrested for DUI last month.
The University of Kentucky senior was found sitting alone in his SUV, revving the engine late one night. Police say the communications major was sitting at a Lexington intersection after hitting a parked car with his vehicle. He was later charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.
"Ya'll have a good one," the younger Paul said to reporters outside of his recent court appearance. He was given a $718 fine and his driver's license was suspended for 45 days, according to news reports. He will also be required to attend alcohol education classes.
It could have been worse, even for a first-time offender. On its website, the commonwealth says that a first offense can result in a jail sentence of from two days to 30 days. It notes that aggravating circumstances can mean a longer stay in jail. Those circumstances include the following:
- Exceeding a speed limit by more than 30 mph
- Going the wrong way on a limited-access highway
- A refusal to submit to BAC (blood alcohol content) testing
- Having a BAC of 0.15 percent or higher within two hours of driving
- Transporting a passenger younger than 12 years old
- Causing an accident that results in death or serious injury
Even though Paul was involved in a minor accident, no serious injuries or deaths resulted. (He was treated at a nearby hospital for some cuts and scrapes on his face, according to a report.)
In court, Paul got less than the maximum 120-day license suspension for a first offense, though he also got more than the minimum month-long suspension.
A second offense for the presidential aspirant's son could mean up to six months in jail, six months of community labor, 18-month license suspension and a year of alcohol treatment. Let's hope William steers clear of that kind of serious trouble.
If he or anyone else is in the future charged with DUI, they should receive a presumption of innocence and a day in court with a Marshall County attorney experienced in criminal defense.