Republican Politician Charged with DUI

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Former South Carolina state treasurer and potential GOP senatorial candidate Thomas Ravenel was arrested this week for DUI. Attorney and DUI victim advocate Gary Christmas of Howell and Christmas says the incident likely won't hurt his political career

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Unfortunately, that also means the incident won't stay in the media for long – he can downplay it if he runs for office.

Multimillionaire and former South Carolina state treasurer Thomas Ravenel was pulled over and charged with drunk driving in the Hamptons this week reported the Wall Street Journal (7.23.13). DUI victim lawyer Gary Christmas says that although his behavior was reckless, the incident is unlikely to be more than a speed bump in Ravenel's political career.

Ravenel is a Republican who served as state treasurer for six months in 2007 before resigning due to cocaine charges. He ultimately plead guilty and served 10 months in prison, and has stayed active politically – backing Ron Paul in the 2012 Republican primary and eying a potential senatorial bid on a GOP ticket, according to pundits according to The Wall Street Journal (7.23.13).

“The fact that nobody was hurt is pure dumb luck when someone gets behind the wheel drunk,” said Christmas, founder of the Howell & Christmas law firm and an advocate for accident victims hurt by drunk or reckless drivers. “Unfortunately, that also means the incident won't stay in the media for long – he can downplay it if he runs for office.”

As stated in the Wall Street Journal article, the police pulled over Ravenel in East Hampton Village because he crossed the center line and drove onto the shoulder of the road. According to the police report, Ravenel smelled of alcohol and failed sobriety tests, but refused to submit to a breath test.

“Refusing the breath test means he'll have trouble keeping his license,” Christmas said. “His story is that he only drank a little and wasn't drunk. I wouldn't expect a jail sentence.”

Christmas said that although DUI is a criminal charge, the consequences aren't severe for first time offenders.

“I'm sure it will come up when he's campaigning, but he'll say it was a one time mistake,” Christmas said. “After his cocaine conviction he stated that he opposes the criminalization of recreational drugs. The crime became part of his platform.”

About Gary Christmas:

Gary Christmas is a Charleston personal injury lawyer and senior partner in the law firm of Howell & Christmas. He has tried more than 200 cases with a focus on protecting the rights of people injured in accidents and disasters. He can be contacted at:

Howell & Christmas
1495 Remount Road
North Charleston, SC 29406

Files handled principally in Mount Pleasant office:
250 Mathis Ferry Road
Suite 102
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464

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