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Fact vs. Hollywood: Trying to Get Out of a Traffic Ticket or DUI

Drunk and reckless driving is something that many movies and TV shows highlight for dramatic and/or comedic effect. Although these on-screen situations are certainly entertaining, they aren’t always the most accurate portrayal of what happens when an individual operates a vehicle under the influence or drives recklessly.

That being said, there are some important lessons to be learned from these movie and TV show clips. Let’s take a quick look at some of the most memorable scenes from the big screen that involve drunk driving or reckless driving:

1. The Mighty Ducks

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This was a 90s Disney classic that every Millennial (and their parents) are probably familiar with. The scene portrayed in The Mighty Ducks, where team coach Gordon Bombay is pulled over under the suspicion of drunk driving, is less flashy than most Hollywood portrayals of drunk driving. This scene is actually a good way to start off our list. It shows that anyone can make a mistake and be charged with DUI.

2. House of Cards

In the popular Netflix show House of Cards, the famous politician Peter Russo is pulled over for drunk driving. As many drivers do try to do, this character explained that he is too famous to be arrested for drunk driving—that perhaps a deal can be worked out instead. This is another rare case of a DUI arrest portrayed fairly accurately in a TV show.

3. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas provides an interesting perspective for driving under the influence of an illicit substance other than alcohol. Raoul Duke, the main character played by actor Johnny Depp, is clearly unfit to drive and his cognitive abilities are just as incapacitated as a drunk driver’s abilities (if not more so). In reality, this car chase scene probably wouldn’t happen. Technology has advanced so much that law enforcement officials can work together to locate and track drivers remotely and quickly.

4. The Wolf of Wall Street

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The Wolf of Wall Street provides another dramatic portrayal of driving under the influence of illicit substances. In real life, it’s not likely that a driver this incapacitated would be able to keep his or her vehicle running for as long as Leonardo DiCaprio’s character did. If nothing else, a real-life driver would be facing many painful injuries after causing that much property and vehicular damage.

5. Groundhog Day

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Getting out of this incident from Groundhog Day certainly wouldn’t be easy in real life. Even a small amount of property damage can mandate a hefty fine. Making casual jokes with the police officer who pulls you over is also not advisable. As this scene showed, it usually still leads to an arrest.

6. Easy Money

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The famous quote in this clip from the movie Easy Money—“I drive better when I’m drunk”—is unfortunately not as humorous when drivers use this logic to get behind the wheel after drinking. Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that the average drunk driver will drive while intoxicated around 80 times before being caught, and 63% of the American population will be involved in a DUI-related accident (like the one narrowly avoided in Easy Money). Legislation called “open container laws” also prohibits passengers from consuming alcohol in a moving motor vehicle.

7. The Longest Yard

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This scene from The Longest Yard is a very good example of several things not to do when you are pulled over for reckless driving—and when police officers suspect that you are intoxicated. From insulting the police officers to showing evidence of his beverage, the main character played by Adam Sandler would be looking at a hefty fine and a long time in jail.

8. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

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Driving in a straight line in between two 18-wheelers and getting out without so much as a scratch? Unlike this scene from the movie Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, it is not likely to happen. Reckless driving—even when alcohol isn’t involved—is still considered a serious offense.

9. Bridesmaids

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When Kristen Wiig’s character is pulled over under the suspicion of DUI, the police officer asks her to perform a quick sobriety test: walking in a straight line. In real life, a police officer would more likely ask a driver to take a breathalyzer test instead. Walking in a straight line isn’t exactly the best test of sobriety, especially when you’re wearing heels. Her character manages to get out of a traffic ticket by appealing to the officer’s emotions, but in reality a driver would still walk away with a ticket for reckless driving.

But Outside of Hollywood…

Although drunk driving may be entertaining on the big screen, it is something that isn’t quite so humorous when you’re involved in drunk driving incident in real life. Even though more than 29 million Americans drive drunk every single year, around 4,000 are arrested every single day.

At The Law Offices of Barbara A. Bowden, we understand that the average DUI in Tacoma, Washington, is much more serious than the average DUI in Hollywood. If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, contact our experienced legal team today.

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