Wellington, New Zealand- Actor Chris Pine known for his role as Captain Kirk in J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek” movies was arrested for driving under the influence in New Zealand at the end of February.
Pine, 33, was in New Zealand filming “Z is for Zachariah,” slated to be released next year, and was celebrating the end of filming at a bar in Methven. He was attending the party with his girlfriend, former Miss Reykjavík, Íris Björk Jóhannesdóttir, the New Zealand Herald reported.
Police stopped Pine in a routine morning check in the South Island town on February 28th. His blood alcohol level was above New Zealand’s legal limit of .08 and he was placed under arrest. Because of New Zealand’s privacy laws, Pine’s identity was not revealed initially.
New Zealand has compulsory breath tests which allow police officers to stop any driver at any time and can ask them to submit to a breath test. Police can also conduct roadside drug tests. It’s a stark contrast to the U.S. where police must have probable cause to stop a driver they suspect of being under the influence.
Pine and company were well behaved at the Blue Pub and he consented when locals wanted to have their picture taken with him, according to manager Casey Crawford. Pine was only drinking beer and did not appear to be intoxicated Crawford told local Christchurch newspaper The Press.
“He looked like he just wanted to spend time with his partner,” Crawford told The Press.
Crawford said the crew was a well-behaved bunch. The bar had designated drivers for the group so Crawford was surprised when Pine drove himself.
The New Zealand Herald reported that Pine’s first court appearance is on Monday of next week.
His publicist has not responded to requests for a statement.
The penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol in New Zealand are similar to those in the U.S. The penalties include 3 months in jail and loss of driving privileges for 6 months.
In the U.S., thousands of people are stopped for driving under the influence each week. People drive under the influence even when they know it is illegal. For some it’s a simple mistake and they don’t realize how intoxicated they are when they get behind the wheel. Maybe they have just had a few drinks and don’t feel drunk or even buzzed, but it takes such a small amount of alcohol to put a person over the legal limit and they can land themselves in hot water.
In the U.S. most first time DUI offenders are able to avoid jail, but a DUI conviction will have a negative effect on a person’s life. A DUI can affect a person’s ability to get into college, get their dream job, obtain a professional license and will stay on their record indefinitely. Most first offenders, with the help of an experienced DUI attorney, can plea for a lesser charge or avoid conviction altogether.