Catholic Cardinal Charged with DUI While Visiting Big Island of Hawaii

On Thursday, August 20, 79-year-old Cardinal William Joseph Levada of Menlo Park was charged with driving under the influence while vacationing on the Big Island of Hawaii with priest friends, according to a recent article at the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.

A police spokeswoman said that Levada was alone and was driving a Nissan Altima at the time he was pulled over for swerving while headed in a northbound direction on Queen Kaahumanu Highway. While news reports did not reveal Levada’s blood alcohol content, the threshold for legal intoxication in Hawaii is 0.08 percent, the same threshold as in many states in the U.S.

Levada said in a statement emailed to The Huffington Post that he regretted his error in judgment, and intended to cooperate fully with authorities. He was formerly the highest ranking American official in the Vatican.

Levada was ordained a priest in 1961 in the Los Angeles Archdiocese; he was appointed as a cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI in May of 2005, and now holds the title of Prefect Emeritus of the Conclave of the Faith. He is scheduled to appear in Kona District Court on September 24, and is required to appear according to Sgt. Robert Pauole. Following his arrest, Levada was released from jail approximately an hour later after posting $500 bail.

As in most states, Hawaii imposes harsh administrative and criminal penalties on those charged with driving under the influence. Those found guilty will face a minimum of 48 hours in jail, along with fines of between $150 and $1,000. The defendant may also be ordered to perform community service work.

In Michigan, the penalties for a first-offense DUI conviction include fines, possible jail time, driver’s license suspension, community service, a criminal record, and more. Driving under the influence is a very serious matter, and should be treated as such. If you have been charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, contact an experienced Michigan DUI attorney immediately to ensure your legal rights and freedom are protected. Driving drunk is a crime; never take matters into your own hands.

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