Nov 19

Jon Zimmerman

Eldest Daughter of Senator John Kerry Stopped for Traffic Violation, Arrested on Suspicion of DUI

by Jon Zimmerman

Alexandra Kerry was the subject of a traffic stop in Hollywood today.  A police officer stopped a vehicle driven by Kerry, 36, because of expired vehicle registration tabs. 

Unfortunately, a simple traffic infraction turned into a full-blown DUI stop, with a custodial arrest.  Kerry declined to take a portable breath test, instead opting to take a breath test at the station.  In California, like in the State of Washington, a person can still be charged with a DUI if their breath test is below the legal limit because the State can still convict a person of DUI without a breath test if the person is appreciably impaired.  

I hope prosecutors in California decline to move forward with criminal charges.  Ms. Kerry was pulled over for a nonmoving violation, she appeared cooperative, and her breath test was below the per se limit. Clearly her case generates a lot of press and has cost her thousands of dollars in bail money, which, although she is a person of more than modest means, is still somewhat punitive.  

But what lesson should be learned from Ms. Kerry's experience in the traffic stop context?  It's quite simple: check your license tabs.  Don't drive without valid tabs.  Driving with expired tabs is like driving with your gas cover open--both are visible distractions to police officers and likely to get you pulled over. 

Since Ms. Kerry was not pulled over for a moving violation, it appears as though she would not have had a problem with the police but for her expired tabs.  

To avoid a traffic stop and traffic ticket for an infraction of expired tabs in the State of Washington, remember to renew your tabs and post the new license tab each of your vehicles prior to tab expiration.  

And good luck Ms. Kerry, I am cheering for you.   


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