07 June 2005

A Moment in Court

Client is charged with driving outside the allowances on his restricted driver's license. He's living with his cousin and was driving from work (restrictions allow driving to and from work).

Client comes up and pleads not guilty. Deputy testifies that he pulled my client over and Client told him he was driving to his cousin's house. Then it's my client's turn to testify.
Me: Where were you coming from that day?

Client: Work.

Me: And where were you going?

Client: Well, first I went to the bank and then I drove over to my cousin's house.

[Okay, that's a problem. The bank is not a sanctioned locale on the restricted license. Still, maybe the judge will forgive it if I show it was part of the trip home.]

Me: You live with your cousin?

Client: I do now, but at the time I was living with my parents.

Me: No further questions.

Judge (apparently surprised I stopped so quickly): What?

Prosecutor (trying very hard not to fall down laughing): He just admitted he was driving outside his restriction.


Anonymous said...

Question: Under Virginia law, can a defendant be DUI (or DWI, whatever you call it) without driving? Say, for example, drunken defendant gets into car, key in the ignition, then passes out.

How would Virginia look at that?

Anonymous said...

To "kinda" answer your question...

In Alabama, DUI is NOT restricted to actually driving. The statute states that the offender must simply be in control of an operational vehicle while under the influence. In other words, if you a legally intoxicated, have the car parked, and the keys are where you can reasonably reach them and turn the car on, then you could be arrested on a DUI charge.

For example, a good old boy has passed out in his truck on the side of the road and an officer has come on site. If the truck is still running, DUI; if the truck has run out of gas and is no longer running when the officer arrives, even though it's obvious that the person WAS guilty of DUI, the officer did not witness the offense, so no DUI; if the truck's turned off, and Otis has been smart enough to throw the keys in the bed of the truck, then since a truck can't become operational without the keys, and they're not within reach, then no DUI. The differences may be subtle, but they make sense in a fasion.

My brother, the Huntsville Alabama police officer, gets around the technical challenges to a DUI with a clever bit of slieght of mind. He taps on the window to wake the subject up, says "I need to speak to you" and steps back. The subject will get out of the vehicle EVERY time. Guess what, now he's got a public intoxication arrest.

(Best DUI story EVER follows.)
I was riding with my brother, observing one day. We witnessed a car pull into a driveway and smash thru a garage door. My brother stopped to make sure there were no injuries. Before we could get to the car, the driver staggered out of the car, fell down, and started vomiting. Needless to say, we had a passenger in the back seat on the way to the city jail.

A note here to all of you who plan on getting arrested for a DUI... SHUT THE HELL UP!!! Do NOT talk non-stop for the fifteen minute ride to jail. Do NOT ramble on and on and on up the elavator. Do NOT give me your life history and tell me about every little detail of your drunken excursion while you're getting processed. Just, SHUT THE HELL UP!!!

During processing my brother administerd a breathalizer test. I can't recall exactly what the subject blew, but take my word for it, you or I would have been comatose at that level. In fact, because of the high level of intoxication, the city jail had to have a doctor's waiver before they could put him in lock up. Now, this seems a little strange to me. Why in the world is the city worried that this guy is too intoxicated to survive? Isn't his constant monologe some kinda clue that not only is he NOT unconscious but that he's not about to be any time soon? Oh, well.

Anyway... Since the doctor was down at Huntsville Hospital at the time, we packed up Mr. Motormouth and went to the hospital to get the waiver. While my brother was in one of the rooms with the prisoner, I met a stunningly beautiful redhead. We were flirting with each other in the hallway and I was making a pretty good impression, if I do say so myself. I was taking a sip from a cup of coffe when we heard this enormous bellow come from the room.

"How the hell can it be a DUI? I wasn't driving! I was PARKING!"

This is when I learned a valuble life lesson: drinking coffee and laughing uncontrolably at the same time is gross and does NOT impress women.

Ken Lammers said...

With the caveat that I'd have to look up the situation in an individual case: the crime in Virginia is operating a vehicle while inebriated. No driving required.

It's terrible public policy because it discourages someone who realizes he's drunk from pulling over and sleeping it off. But it's the law.