In April, actor Jeffrey Wright was arrested for driving while intoxicated during the early hours of the morning. The star, who will appear in an upcoming installment of the popular “Hunger Games” series, was brought into custody at a nearby police station. While there, a breath test showed no alcohol content. Readers in St. Louis may be relieved to hear that the drunk driving charges were recently dropped.
Reports indicate that Wright’s blood-alcohol concentration registered at 0.00 percent when he was tested after his arrest. As such, why did prosecutors attempt to bring this case to trial?
In the end, the criminal court ruled that the prosecution didn’t have enough evidence to move forward with the trial. Certainly, Wright has reason to be relieved, but being forced to appear in court took his time and could have an impact on his professional reputation, even though he wasn’t convicted.
No matter what criminal charges are being filed against a person, the burden of proof rests with the prosecution. If they cannot prove — beyond any reasonable doubt — that the defendant is guilty, then the charges aren’t likely to stick. In this case, the court couldn’t reasonably rule out the possibility that Wright wasn’t actually over the legal limit.
Examining the strength of evidence is important in every criminal case, and this is no different in drunk driving cases. In many instances, the accuracy of breath-testing devices has been called into question. In other cases, the results of field sobriety testing have come under fire. Above all, the prosecution didn’t have sufficient evidence, so justice was carried out.
Source: New York Daily News, “‘Hunger Games’ actor Jeffrey Wright’s drunk driving charges dropped due to lack of evidence,” Shayna Jacobs, June 25, 2013