A New York jury recently found Kerry Kennedy not guilty of driving while impaired. Kennedy is the ex-wife of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the daughter of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy.In July, 2012, Kennedy was driving a Lexus SUV on Westchester County Interstate 684 during morning rush hour traffic when hit a tractor-trailer. She had reportedly been swerving and weaving her vehicle for about five miles before the crash occurred. After hitting the truck, Kennedy kept driving and was later found off the next exit, her car had stalled and she was passed out. After her arrest, Kennedy was found to have the drug zolpidem in her system. Zolpidem is a sleep aid and is sold under the trade name of Ambien. According to testimony Kennedy gave at her trial, the morning of the incident, she was rushing to leave the house and accidently grabbed and ingested the wrong medication. The bottle of zolpidem was sitting next to the medication that Kennedy takes every morning for a thyroid condition. Both bottles were similar in size and color. Kennedy also testified that her memory of that morning ends shortly before she drove onto the highway. There have been multiple studies that have concluded that one of the effects of the drug is amnesia. The drug can also affect a person’s judgment without them being aware of it. Although she has been taking zolpidem for ten years, Kennedy told the jury that she was unaware of what effect it has on her since she has only taken it right before she goes to sleep at night. Prosecutors claimed that Kennedy was not only aware she took the drug, but that she continued to drive even as it began to impair her ability to do so. The jury disagreed, taking only one hour and ten minutes to find Kennedy not guilty of DUI. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, contact a knowledgeable Arlington Heights criminal defense attorney to make sure you have experienced representation against the prosecution.
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