Shooter McGavin Arrested for DWAI

Christopher Macdonald, famous for his role as Shooter McGavin in the 1996 movie Happy Gilmore, was arrested for a DWAI on October 16.  Macdonald is currently shooting a movie in North Carolina.  The arrest occurred in Wilmington.  Law enforcement reported that his BAC was a .15.

TMZ initially broke the news.  Based on the story, it sounds as though Macdonald was arrested for a DWI or driving while ability impaired, not a DUI or driving under the influence.  This seems unusual since Macdonald’s BAC exceeded the legal limit.  In fact, Macdonald’s BAC was nearly double the legal limit.  Generally, when a person’s BAC exceeds the legal limit, the person is charged with a DUI.  However, North Carolina’s laws may differ from Colorado’s laws or there could be another explanation.  For example, perhaps the reported BAC was based on a portable breath test (PBT), which is only a preliminary test and the police are waiting for an official test result.

DUI law differs from state to state.  These laws can differ in terms of the way in which a DUI or DWAI is defined, the potential penalties for a DUI or DWAI or the way in which each state’s DMV will address driver’s license issues.  For example, in one state, a DUI may only be punishable by a fine and a simple class.  In Colorado, there is lengthy probation, education, therapy and community service hours.  In addition, in Colorado, if you have any priors, jail becomes mandatory even if that prior occurred in a different state.  This may seem unfair, especially if you were never afforded an opportunity to take alcohol education classes in the prior case.  If you hold a license in a different state than Colorado, the interstate compact may become an issue.  Because the law differs from state to state, it is important to consult with a Colorado attorney if you have been charged with a DUI or DWAI in Colorado.