Two Men Charged With Drunken Driving Twice In One Day
Posted September 1, 2003 5:11 a.m. EDT
WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — Many people think suspected drunken drivers are forced to sober up in a holding cell, but that is not always the case. Under the law, they have rights to be released in a timely manner. In some cases, they get right back behind the wheel. Sougata Mukherjee, 39, of Raleigh and 21-year-old Dustin Westerlund of Durham were both recently arrested for drunken driving twice in one day.
After a minor accident at Glenwood Avenue and Leadmine Road early Friday, Mukherjee, the editor of the
Triangle Business Journal
, registered a 0.16 blood alcohol level, which is twice the legal limit.
Mukherjee was processed in the Wake County Jail. The magistrate handled the case just like hundreds of others. Under the law, the magistrate must have clear and convincing evidence of further impairment to hold a suspect.
If first-time suspected drunk drivers are coherent and respectful, they are often released on a written promise to appear in court. Mukherjee gave up his license and left.
About an hour later at the intersection of Creedmoor and Lynn Roads, the same officer arrested Mukherjee for DWI again in the same vehicle. This time, Mukherjee's Nissan Pathfinder was impounded and he was given more stringent release guidelines.
Westerlund was released Saturday morning following his first DWI arrest. That evening, Durham police arrested him again for drunken driving in a stolen truck.
Westerlund is still being held in the Durham County Jail. He is due in court Tuesday. Mukhjerjee is out on pre-trial release pending his first court appearance. WRAL was unable to get comment from either man.