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Kurt Angle's charges dropped from DUI to reckless driving

Charges of drunk driving have been replaced with reckless driving against professional wrestler Kurt Angle. Officers say Angle failed a preliminary breath test and had difficulty completing a field sobriety test after he was pulled over in early September outside of Linden.

The 42-year-old wrestler was stopped on Interstate 66 around midnight by a state police officer who suspected he was driving under the influence. State police reports say Angle's car was swerving back and forth across the highway. The trooper reported smelling a "strong odor" of alcohol when he stopped Angle. The wrestler allegedly told the officer he had consumed three beers.

An on-the-scene alcohol breath test reportedly registered 0.091, just above the legal intoxication limit of 0.08. About two hours after the traffic stop, a second breath test was administered at the police headquarters in Front Royal. Angle's BAC level registered at 0.06.

In the days following his arrest, Angle denied he had been driving drunk. He claimed he had just come from a wrestling performance at the Shenandoah County Fair and had a difficult time locating the highway exit to his hotel.

Prosecutors did not comment on the switch from first-time DUI charges to reckless driving charges against Angle. Both offenses carry the same penalty weight, if the wrestler is convicted.

Angle's defense lawyer argued that the breath test used by the trooper at the scene may have been flawed. The attorney said that the second test met Virginia Department of Forensic Science standards, implying that the trooper's on-scene test may not have registered Angle's BAC properly.

If he is found guilty, the wrestler could face a $2,500 fine and be imprisoned for up to one year. A trial date on the new charges is set for Nov. 8.

As this case clearly shows, not everyone accused of drunk driving is found guilty. Breath tests are not always reliable. If a BAC reading was found to be inaccurate, the results could be thrown out. Strong defenses can be built to challenge DUI charges.

Source: nvdaily.com, "Prosecutor amends wrestler's DUI charge," Joe Beck, Oct. 5, 2011

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