Country music fans in Virginia and around the country may have learned about Michael Ray when his ballad ‘Kiss You in the Morning” reached the top of the Billboard Country Airplay chart in 2015. The 29-year-old singer is seen as a rising star, but his reputation suffered a blow during the early morning hours of Dec. 20 when he was taken into custody by police in his home state of Florida on drug possession and drunk driving charges.
Ray’s troubles began when his car collided with the rear of another vehicle as the star waited in line at a fast-food drive-thru window at approximately 3:30 a.m. Ray told the responding police officers that his foot had slipped off the brake pedal. However, the officers were more interested in Ray’s demeanor, and they ordered him to submit to a series of field sobriety tests after allegedly noticing that his speech was slurred and his breath smelled of alcohol.
Officers claim that Ray admitted to drinking at a nearby bar earlier in the evening, and they say that they took the singer into custody after he failed to complete several of the sobriety exercises. A vial of a brown liquid is said to have been discovered in one of Ray’s pockets during a pat down, and the singer allegedly admitted to police that it was cannabis oil.
Criminal defense attorneys would likely advise their clients not to make any admissions or incriminating statements to law enforcement until they have spoken with counsel. Veteran police officers may tell drunk driving suspects that being candid will impress prosecutors and could lead to a reduced sentence, but this is rarely what actually happens. Criminal suspects who are courteous to police but make no admissions generally do not anger prosecutors but may give their defense attorneys a more advantageous position from which to conduct plea negotiations.
Source: Fox News, “Country singer Michael Ray arrested for DUI at McDonald’s drive-thru, says report”, Staff report, Dec. 20, 2017
Source: The Orlando Sentinel, “Country star Michael Ray apologizes for DUI, promises to rebuild trust”, Jason Ruiter, Dec. 21, 2017