Can half a can of beer alone make someone's blood-alcohol content exceed the legal limit? Not likely. But that is what a criminal complaint in Milwaukee alleges against a woman who not only has suffered the loss of her young daughter; she is also accused of DUI in connection with her daughter's death.
Authorities say the woman got distracted while driving and crashed into a parked semi. In the accident, her 10-year-daughter was fatally injured, while the woman's five-year-old daughter suffered critical injuries. The police claim the woman's blood-alcohol content was .17 percent, but the woman's friends and family have roundly disputed that allegation.
The criminal complaint against the woman claims that, on the night of the crash, she told a police detective that she drank half a can of beer earlier in the evening. How half a can of beer can result in a blood-alcohol level of .17 (two times the legal limit) was not made clear in a local news report.
The woman faces four felony charges and a misdemeanor in connection with the crash that killed her daughter. Currently, a homemade memorial marks the spot where the tragic accident occurred.
For readers in Waukesha County, the allegations against this woman may call to mind some important issues with regard to DUI charges. Police officers and prosecutors write reports and complaints specifically to level the most severe charges possible against a person accused of a crime. Included in such reports are the supposed results of blood-alcohol tests, which have been shown repeatedly in other cases to be far less reliable than police would have us believe. Moreover, when police reports and prosecutors' complaints are written with a view toward proving guilt, it is only fair (not to mention legally required) that an accused person is afforded a strong and meaningful defense in court. The presumption of innocence is one of the most important rights the law provides, and that presumption must be upheld unless or until a prosecutor proves otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt.
Source: todaystmj4.com, "Court for Milwaukee woman charged with DUI in crash killing daughter," Jan. 9, 2012