A Pennsylvania woman is facing trial for charges after being accused of drunk driving and using her deceased sister’s identity.
According to CBS, Crystal Lample of Ellwood City waived her right to a preliminary hearing on Tuesday. The 35-year-old is being charged with drunk driving and providing false identification information, among other charges.
Lample was arrested on Sept. 11 after police received a report of an erratic driver. During interactions with police, it is alleged that she was barely capable of standing up and told police that she was Brandi Lee Miller. Police later discovered that Miller died in 2010.
According to Altoona Mirror, police found Lample inside a pickup truck; when they approached her, she got out of the vehicle and stumbled away. She appeared to be intoxicated but refused a blood alcohol test.
What’s troubling about this is that if Lample is not convicted of the drunk driving charge, she could easily keep her license and her privilege of driving. Pennsylvania is one of very few states in the U.S. that require a conviction before revoking licenses for driving under the influence.
Take for example the case of Villanova lawyer and sometimes CNN commentator Joseph Lawless. According to The Morning Call, he was arrested for drunk driving five times in a single year and avoided conviction in every single case. And it isn’t because of his professional stature.
Typically, driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or more is considered driving under the influence in the United States. Each time Lawless was arrested, his BAC was more than .16, which is the highest grade of intoxication in Pennsylvania and twice the typical legal limit.
Because of flaws in Pennsylvania’s DUI laws, however, Lawless was able to plead guilty to being a first time offender after each of his five arrests, and was never given more than 10 days in jail for any one of them.
The Morning Call argues that cases like these occur because Pennsylvania does not suspend the licenses of those who fail sobriety tests. Forty one other states do. Furthermore, Pennsylvania is again in the minority when it comes to mandating the use of interlock devices that prevent offenders from starting their cars if they are drunk. Thirty three states require a judge to mandate the device after just one drunk driving conviction.