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Bay Area Criminal Defense Blog

Drinking and Driving is for the Dogs

Posted by Lynn Gorelick | Jan 29, 2016 | 0 Comments

A dog driving a car makes for hilarious video footage. Man's best friend are also an easy target for claiming why something went wrong, like the classic claim of “my dog ate my homework.” One man in Florida has managed to combine these two ideas after he was stopped by police for a DUI, claiming his dog was driving the car.

In a parking lot you may see a dog sitting in the driver's seat, which makes for a quick laugh with the idea that the dog is driving the car. A video has recently made the rounds with a dog driving around in a child's car, with the child-owner comfortably riding as the passenger. A man in Maine recently pointed the finger at his Yorkshire terrier for causing his pickup truck to roll into a lake. However, blaming our canine companions can only be taken so far.

Reliford Cooper was allegedly spotted running a stop sign, speeding and driving erratically around a residential neighborhood in Manatee County, Florida. The 26-year-old eventually hit a ditch, and crashed into a house, then took off on foot. The sheriff's officers used a K-9 unit to track the man down.

Cooper was later found hiding in the bathroom of a nearby church. While he sought refuge, he was forced out by church parishioners, who made him leave their house of worship. When the sheriffs eventually found Cooper, he reportedly smelled of alcohol and had “an odor of burnt marijuana.”

When the Manatee County Sheriff's Deputy handcuffed Cooper and questioned him about driving under the influence, he said, “My dog was driving that car. I ran because I wanted to. You ain't gonna find no drugs or guns on me.” Cooper then complained about back pain and began to throw up. Cooper was shortly taken to the hospital.

Mr. Cooper did not admit to doing anything wrong, and no dog was found in the car. The driver has had a number of prior run ins with the law. He has prior criminal charges including aggravated assault, robbery, battery, burglary and theft. The sheriff's may not have believed Cooper's story that his dog was driving the car, and arrested him on suspicion of driving under the influence, aggravated fleeing, and leaving the scene of an accident. Bail is set at $26,000.

If the story was made up, perhaps Mr. Cooper got his inspiration from another Florida driver who used the same excuse a couple of months ago. Christina Anne Marie Lamoreaux was stopped near Orlando after leaving the scene of an accident. While she admitted to driving, and smelled heavily of alcohol, she blamed her dog for the crash.

At the Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending people facing criminal charges in the East Bay, including burglary and assault. With more than 30 years of experience, Lynn Gorelick understands the local criminal laws, and will make sure you get the justice you deserve. Contact the local East Bay criminal defense attorney who understands that you do not have to plead guilty just because you were

About the Author

Lynn Gorelick

Lynn Gorelick has been an attorney for 30 years. She is the Attorney Lynn Gorelick is the President of the California DUI Lawyers Association and a Faculty and Sustaining member of the National College of DUI Defense.

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