Rand Paul's Son Charged with Drunken Driving Following Crash

The presidential candidate's son was cited for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol on Sunday.

For the families of politicians, it is an unspoken rule: Do not generate negative headlines. Abiding by that unwritten contract, however, can prove more difficult that it sounds. From Vice President Joe Biden's son's discharge from the U.S. Navy Reserve after testing positive for cocaine, to former Florida Governor Jeb Bush's daughter's arrests for drug-related problems, politicians' loved ones often become part of the story themselves. To that list, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul's eldest son has been added. 

William Hilton Paul, 22, was charged on April 19 with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol after crashing a 2006 Honda Ridgeline into an parked car late Sunday morning in Lexington, Ky., according to a citation by the Lexington Police Department. His lawyer, Benny Hicks, confirmed the misdemeanor charge.

"Upon contact, the subject had a strong odor of alcohol on or about his person," the Lexington Police Department citation said. "Subject had bloodshot, watery eyes, slurred speech and was belligerent."

Before being issued the citation, Paul refused a blood test and then failed a field sobriety test, according to the citation. He was also charged with not having insurance, and a court date has been set for May 12. 

Paul sustained minor injuries, and was treated at a hospital before being released later that same day.  

Rand Paul declined to comment through a spokesman for his presidential campaign. "Senator Rand Paul does not comment on any private matters in regards to his family," Sergio Gor said in an e-mail Wednesday.

The citation marks William Paul's third alcohol-related run-in with the law in recent years. 

In January 2013, William Paul was arrested at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina after his flight landed from Lexington, and was charged with simple assault of a flight attendant, underage drinking, disorderly conduct, and being intoxicated and disruptive, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The charges were later dismissed as part of a deferred prosecution program, the newspaper reported, citing the Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office.

After the arrest, Paul's Senate office issued a statement asking for “privacy and respect.”

In October 2013, William Paul was cited for possession of alcohol by a minor at a Lexington racetrack, according to the newspaper. He had the option to answer the citation in district court or pay a $25 fine and court costs in advance, the newspaper reported, citing the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. A Rand Paul spokeswoman declined to comment for that report.

Messages to the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control seeking details on the outcome of that case were not immediately returned.

Rand Paul, 52, announced his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination on April 7. History suggests that his son's latest legal scrape will have little effect on the bid.

In 2008, when it was learned that Sarah Palin's eldest daughter, Bristol, was pregnant out of wedlock, a flurry of subsequent stories alternately praised and criticized the Palin family, but ultimately seemed to matter little in the election's final outcome. 

Billy Carter, President Jimmy Carter's beer-loving brother, while generating no shortage of publicity as a "real Southern boy," seemed to help humanize his sibling during the 1976 election as much as it may have embarrassed him.  

—David Weigel contributed to this report.

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