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'Super extreme" DUI by NBA player draws national attention

While the following story didn't occur here in Greenville, or anywhere in North Carolina for that matter, it still brings an interesting issue to the table regarding drunk driving and the perception of people who operate a vehicle above the legal blood alcohol limit.

PJ Tucker, an NBA player who was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, was recently arrested for driving under the influence in Phoenix, where he applies his basketball skills. The Phoenix Suns' player recently signed a $16.5 million contract with the team. When Tucker was pulled over by police, a preliminary breath test showed that Tucker's blood alcohol level was 0.201. He then went in for a blood test that showed his blood alcohol content was actually 0.222.

Tucker was charged for failing to stop at a stop sign, and the ominous sounding charge of "super extreme DUI." Such a DUI charge is allowed under Arizona law if a driver is found to have a blood alcohol content over 0.20. This "super extreme DUI" carries a minimum 45-day jail sentence if the individual is found guilty.

The specifics of the charge and the penalties aren't necessarily important for the purpose of this blog because they don't apply in this state. However, the name alone carries significant connotations for DUI law. Having someone accused or convicted of a "super extreme DUI" is more damaging than a regular DUI -- even though both acts are essentially the same.

Drunk drivers already get a bad rap, even though their DUI may have been their first mistake behind the wheel. Otherwise hard-working, good people are condemned for their action, even though it may have simply been a mistake or a moment of poor judgement. Adding a "super extreme" label other furthers this condemnation.

Source: azcentral.com, "Suns player P.J. Tucker accused of 'super extreme' DUI," Paul Coro, July 29, 2014

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