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Celebrity doesn't always have its privileges

The notion that movie stars get preferential treatment from law enforcement may have been debunked last night. Actress Reese Witherspoon was arrested for disorderly conduct in conjunction with a traffic stop that left her husband (Jim Toth) arrested for drunk driving.

According to a number of news reports, Toth was stopped by Atlanta police after driving in the wrong lane. Once her husband was arrested, Witherspoon reportedly became upset and exited the couple's car in an attempt to persuade the officer to stop the arrest. The officer allegedly told Witherspoon to get back in the car, to which she reportedly responded "Do you know my name?" "You're about to find out who I am!"

She was arrested for disorderly conduct.

Witherspoon admitted later that she was embarrassed about her conduct, and that she had a few too many drinks. However, the story underscores the importance of not trying to take on the police in their arena...even if you believe your rights are being violated. There is a forum to address police misconduct, and the street is almost never the right one.

As such, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help those arrested (for drunk driving or disorderly conduct) by analyzing the facts and advising on the best course of action to defend against the charges. As we have posted previously, one of the most important pillars in our system of justice is the right to challenge the allegations set against the accused.

Suffice it to say, if you are charged with a crime, claiming celebrity status won't get you very far, but a solid legal defense will.

Source: People.com, Reese Witherspoon arrest: 'I'm very sorry', April 22, 2013

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Gregory R. Gifford
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