Actress Sally Struthers, best known for playing Gloria Stivic in the ground-breaking TV sitcom “All in the Family,” has requested a jury trial after being charged with OUI, operating under the influence, in Ogunquit, Maine, on September 12, 2012, according to recent news reports. Ann Oldenburg writes for USA TODAY that Struthers is due to appear in York County Superior Court in Alfred, Maine, on September 23, when jury selection is scheduled to begin.
The two-time Emmy-award-winning actress, who lives in Los Angeles, was in Ogunquit appearing as Roz in a stage adaptation “9 to 5” at the Ogunquit Playhouse around the time of her arrest, writes Susan Morse for SeacoastOnline. Morse adds that Struthers “did fail to submit to a test at the request of the law enforcement officer.”
Struthers pleaded not guilty to the charge, and through her attorney, John Scott Webb of Saco, filed a motion last year to suppress any and all statements made while she was in custody, the results of any field sobriety tests, any observations made of her subsequent to the traffic stop, and all evidence of her ‘alleged refusal to submit to chemical testing,’ Webb said in the motion.
‘The defendant was induced to refuse to submit to a chemical test based on erroneous information provided by the law enforcement officer,’ Webb said in the motion. He also said the arresting officer was without probable cause to believe she was operating under the influence.
No ruling on the motion appeared in the court record, Morse writes. Originally the case was scheduled for bench trial in York District Court, but in January, after Struthers requested a jury trial, the case was transferred to the superior court, Morse writes.
On its website, the state of Maine says the following about its OUI law:
It is important for Maine drivers to remember that a driver’s license is not a right guaranteed under our Constitution. It is a privilege that is administratively issued and can be withdrawn by the State. Under Implied Consent, you automatically agree to a chemical test (blood, breath, or urine) at any time authorities have probable cause to administer it. If you refuse to take such a test for alcohol or drugs, your driver’s license will be immediately suspended. The suspension could be for a period of up to six years. Because it is an administrative suspension, no court action is necessary. In addition, testimony from the arresting officer regarding your driving performance can result in an OUI conviction even without the BAC test!
If you are found guilty of OUI based on the police officer’s testimony, your refusal to take a test will be considered as an aggravating factor by the judge and another suspension, as well as mandatory jail time, will be tacked on. So by refusing, you will have a much harsher penalty than if you’d taken the test.
Remember a test can protect you. If you are not legally intoxicated, the test will show it.
In addition to her “All in the Family” role, Struthers, who turned 66 on July 28, is known for her role as Babette Dell on “Gilmore Girls” from 2000 to 2007. She starred as Mrs. Meers in “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” which ran at the Ogunquit Playhouse from June 12 to July 6, Morse writes. And the actress is scheduled to appear in the one-night-only production of “Always, Patsy Cline” at the Algonquin Arts Theatre on August 17.