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Actor Lou Diamond Phillips arrested for DWI in Texas town

Some drunk driving arrests in Texas can be marked by unusually belligerent reactions by the suspect. That is why law enforcement officers sometimes include a count for resisting arrest or for some other behavioral violation, such as disorderly conduct. Most arrests for DWI, however, go relatively smoothly and without resistance by the suspect.

Fortunately for the actor, Lou Diamond Phillips, his recent drunk driving arrest went smoothly and without a hitch. In fact, Phillips cooperated to the extent of approaching the police on his own, without being stopped for an accident or erratic driving. He approached a police officer in Portland, Texas at about 1:30 a.m. and asked for directions. The officer had been conducting an unrelated traffic stop at the time.

The officer alleges that he smelled alcohol on Phillips and suspected that he had been drinking. Police further allege that Phillips had a blood alcohol level of .20 percent, which is twice the limit allowed under Texas criminal statutes. The arrest was apparently processed quickly, and the actor was released on $2,500 bail.  Phillips, a graduate of a Corpus Christi high school in 1980, was in town for a speaking engagement.

According to the Portland Police Chief, Phillips was cooperative throughout the process. There may be some question whether the police went a bit beyond their authority by interfering with Phillips' freedom prior to his having displayed any unusual or threatening driving activities. It is unclear whether the officer was able to even observe Phillips' driving prior to the arrest.

However, in Texas and other states, these facts may qualify for at least a reasonable suspicion of DWI, in that the officer allegedly observed signs of a vehicle driver who was drinking, which then authorized further investigation. It depends on the remaining facts and details, which may come out in a later proceeding. When a celebrity is arrested for drunk driving, however, it is often prudent to plead guilty and take the punishment, which may be unimposing on a first offense where there was full cooperation. That is often the best way to defuse any negative publicity associated with the event.

Source: Time, "Actor Lou Diamond Phillips Charged with DWI in Texas", Nov. 4, 2017

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