Major League Baseball manager Tony La Russa is facing drunk driving charges again after allegedly crashing his SUV while under the influence of alcohol. The 76-year-old World Series Winner was taken into custody by Arizona Department of Public Safety officers in February after he failed to satisfactorily complete a series of field sobriety exercises. That was the day before the Chicago White Sox announced that the team had hired La Russa. A team official said that executives were aware of the incident when they made the decision to appoint La Russa.
Breath test refusal
The events that led to La Russa being taken into custody unfolded on Feb. 24 in Phoenix near Sky Harbor International Airport. According to an ADPS report, officers asked La Russa to take a field sobriety test after his SUV struck a curb. While La Russa agreed to do the exercises, he allegedly would not submit to a breath test and refused to provide officers with a blood or urine sample.
La Russa was previously charged with DUI in 2007 when police officers in Florida found him asleep behind the wheel of his SUV with the engine running. On that occasion, La Russa pleaded guilty.
Arizona’s implied consent law requires motorists to obey a police officer’s request to take a breath test or provide a sample for toxicology testing. Refusing such a request will lead to a mandatory driver’s license ban and will be unlikely to prevent a DUI conviction as officers could simply obtain a search warrant. A refusal might also make it more difficult for criminal defense attorneys to negotiate favorable terms during plea negotiations. This is why attorneys may advise drivers suspected of DUI to be courteous to police officers and follow their instructions.