Billy Ackerman’s reputation in Kentucky just took a big hit, with the news that the Property Valuation Administrator of Madison County Kentucky had been arrested for a DUI. What’s more disturbing is the conditions under which Ackerman was arrested. His destination was Madison Middle School, where he planned to pick up his children and take them home from school.
The 42-year-old administrator admitted that he’d had 3 bourbons at some point in the day, but speculation about when they were consumed will inevitably lead to doubts in the case as to whether or not Ackerman was legally intoxicated at the time of arrest. Obviously, not everyone who drinks alcohol “earlier in the day” will be legally intoxicated hours later. Clouding the case even further is the fact that Ackerman refused to take a breathalyzer test.
According to Ackerman, he consumed the bourbons around 11:30 AM, which would create a lot of doubt as to whether he would have been intoxicated at 3:30 PM at the time of the arrest. The troubling fact that Ackerman refused to take a breathalyzer will undoubtedly cast doubt on his version of events.
The arrest events are fairly straightforward. An officer located Ackerman in his vehicle and the engine was still running. The reason Ackerman was suspected of DUI was that the officer smelled alcohol in the vehicle. When a field sobriety test was performed, Ackerman failed the test. When asked to take a breathalyzer, Ackerman declined. This could lead to big legal consequences for Ackerman or it could work in his favor. According to authority DUIwise.com, refusing to take a breathalyzer test can deeply sway a jury if you take your case to trial. The most obvious question on that jury’s conscience would be, “Why did Ackerman refuse to take a breathalyzer test?” If you refuse to take the test, you can immediately be arrested, just as Ackerman was.
Ackerman was in fact immediately arrested and booked into the Madison County Detention Center. He was there for just over an hour and was released on his own recognizance. For reasons unknown, jail tracker didn’t post a picture of Ackerman on its jailtracker, perhaps because he was not kept in custody for very long.
The rather high profile arrest in the area comes because Ackerman has worked for the county since 2009 in an elected state position for the county’s P.V.A. department. When an arrest such as this comes to light, things can get confusing rather quickly, as elected officials are often held to a higher standard than civilians who work for private organizations. People expect their elected officials to behave in a way that keeps and protects the public’s trust. A DUI arrest definitely hints that Ackerman wasn’t living up to the standards of his elected office.
Sites like DUIwise exist to help people like Ackerman receive the best advice about a DUI arrest. So often people who are arrested for DUI will simply plead guilty and try to move on with their lives, not realizing that they’re causing additional damage by accepting a punishment that is beyond that which they deserved. For Ackerman, his refusal to take a breathalyzer test may come back to haunt him. While it’s not an automatic admission of guilt, it reflects very badly when put in front of a journey that a defendant has refused the test. Common sense says that if you’re not intoxicated, you should have no problem consenting to a breathalyzer test.
However, other circumstances can cloud the judgment of a defendant after being accused of a DUI. Ackerman was on his way to pick up his children. He HAD consumed alcohol earlier in the day and admitted it on the scene. Due to these two factors, it’s possible that Ackerman felt that being asked to take a breathalyzer was unfair given his honesty at the scene. The behavior of officers is often not reflected in police reports, too. If they were threatening and Ackerman’s children were near by, he might have felt uncomfortable submitting to any further testing in front of the children.
Only time will tell exactly what happened the day Ackerman was arrested and whether or not he was driving under the influence of alcohol. Being intoxicated on school grounds and picking up children while drunk will definitely reflect badly on Ackerman’s character, but with the right legal representation, Ackerman has a chance of beating the charges and avoiding jail time or perhaps any penalties at all. The procedures for a DUI are very cut and dry. Officers must adhere to a certain code of conduct during the questioning, just as a driver must adhere to a certain code of conduct on the road. As more details about this case come out, it’s possible that Ackerman will be cleared entirely. Until then, people can only speculate about why an elected official was picking his children up from school in a state that appeared to be intoxication.
Ackerman isn’t the only elected official to face DUI charges. These cases tend to be higher profile and have more at risk than civilian cases. When an official is elected to care for the public’s trust, they are held to a higher standard than others. A DUI conviction could spell the end of Ackerman’s career as an administrator. More than many defendants, he has a lot on the line here and could lose not just his freedom and driver’s license but his job as well.
It’s likely that Ackerman has already retained legal representation to fight the DUI charge. As time goes on, more details will surface as to why Ackerman refused to take a breathalyzer case. Remember that when you’re confronted and asked to take a breathalyzer, it can be detrimental to your case to refuse, no matter what the results are (after all, these tests sometimes give false positive results and you can fight those in court). For Ackerman, it’s too late to take a breathalyzer case. For now, he’s awaiting further action.