The Philadelphia DUI Law Blog

Catholic Archbishop-Elect Arrested on Suspicion of DUI

Well, the Catholic Church is in the news again. (There apparently wasn't enough news to go around with Monsignor William Lynn and the Rev. James Brennan, not to mention the countless others charged with all kinds of offenses.)

At least now a clergyman has been arrested for something most people can relate to: a DUI. The Rev. Salvatore Cordileone, the archbishop-elect of San Francisco, was arrested on suspicion of DUI last weekend, according to the Associated Press. Cordileone has already issued a statement apologizing for his actions, even though it would take an action practically by the Pope himself to stop Cordileone's ascension to archbishop.

Cordileone is now set to go to court in October, shortly after he is installed as archbishop, according to the AP. So how could he potentially challenge his arrest?

The Rev. Salvatore Cordileone's first defense didn't really work on the police officer who confronted him at a DUI checkpoint in San Diego. For some reason, even though Cordileone was very polite and cordial with police, and informed them that he was a priest, he was still taken to the station to spend the night, according to the AP.

Cordileone probably won't have much luck in challenging the checkpoint, because checkpoints have been considered legal in California for some time, just like in Pennsylvania.

But his prayers may be answered by challenging his alcohol breath test. Breath tests can be challenged because the device needs to be properly calibrated and properly used. A defendant can request documents showing when the device was calibrated, and can also question the arresting officer about whether he was properly trained in its use.

Archbishop-elect Salvatore Cordileone's DUI arrest could result in a jail sentence and a driver license suspension. But by then, he'll probably be archbishop and will not really have to worry about it.

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