Columbia, SC- Former South Carolina Treasurer Thomas Jonathan J. Ravenel was arrested for intoxicated driving in East Hampton Village early Monday morning.
Ravenel, 50, who is the son of Arthur Ravenel Jr. a Congressman for South Carolina between 1980 and 1990, was attending a polo match in the Hamptons.
According to the East Hampton police, an officer observed Ravenel driving his Toyota Land Cruiser off the shoulder of Montauk Highway. Their report also states he crossed over the centerline of the roadway.
When the officer pulled him over they noticed his breath smelled of alcohol, his eyes were glassy and red and he was unsteady in his feet, the Albany Times Union reported. He also failed several field sobriety tests.
The Hampton Patch reported that Ravenel refused to submit to a breathalyzer test.
He was released on bond, Captain Mike Tracey said.
Ravenel was charged with intoxicated driving along with failure to keep right and driving on the shoulder.
In statement following the incident Ravenel admitted he had been drinking, but denied that he was drunk and said he would fight the charges.
The multimillionaire has a scandalous past. Just months after the Republican took office as the South Carolina Treasurer he was forced to resign. Ravenel was arrested for purchasing cocaine for himself and some friends. He spent several months in jail as result of the charges.
Ravenel now plays polo, but has expressed a desire to get back into politics with possible challenge for Sen. Lindsey Graham’s seat.
As the 2012 presidential election was heating up, Ravenel threw his support behind Ron Paul because he objected to the government’s ineffectual “war on drugs.”
He echoed those sentiments in statement Tuesday when he said he “never believed recreational drug use within one’s home to be something worthy of criminalization.”
If Ravenel is convicted of the charges in he could face up to one year in jail, but that largely depends on his level of intoxication. He also faces fines between $500 and $1,000.
Ravenel like many drivers refused to submit to a breathalyzer test. This is common tactic used to avoid a DUI charge since is prevents police officers the evidence necessary to secure a conviction, but refusing such sobriety tests carry different consequences.
New York State has an implied consent law which means as a licensed driver you have given law enforcement the right to conduct a breath, blood or urine test to determine if you are sober. Refusing these tests has automatic penalties. First your license could be suspended for one year and you will also be required to pay a $750 fine.
Refusing a sobriety test is one way to avoid a DUI charge but the most assured way to prevent a DUI conviction is to hire a DUI attorney, who will build a strong defense on your behalf. A DUI expert can challenge the circumstances of your arrest and contest the results of any blood, urine or breath tests.