DUI Without driving your car? Conviction upheld!

Discussion in 'News / Current Events' started by windcatcher, May 8, 2010.

  1. windcatcher

    windcatcher
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    Until I read this..... I would have thought this as 'unbelievable', "Surely something is missing!" Not! A jury convicted and upheld after appeal!

    http://autos.aol.com/article/dui-car-wouldnt-start/

     
  2. mcdirector

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    When I first saw this case, I was surprised. What if he'd laid down beside the car with his keys by his side, would that have still been a crime? He was still in the proximity. We want a drunk sleeping on a park bench or in a ditch where he can be harmed? No, his car was a safer place (even with the door wide open) to sleep it off IMHO.

    Of course, if the poor guy hadn't gone out drinking in the first place . . .
     
  3. Jason Garrett

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    As a cop, I can comment on this one. In most states, as long as the offender is behind the wheel and has the ability to operate the vehicle (possession of keys to that vehicle) they are guilty of DUI. Whether or not the vehicle is capable of operating is not relevant according to the law. I'm not saying I completely agree with this statute, but it is what it is. The only thing I question is that this was a Felony. In Colorado where I serve this is only a Misdemeanor and not an arrestable offense.
     
  4. StefanM

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    The statute is completely nonsensical. Essentially it allows an officer to arrest an individual based on the POTENTIAL to drive under the influence.
     
  5. Jason Garrett

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    I think they look at "intent". If you sit behind the wheel of your car with keys in hand there in an implied intent to operate that motor vehicle.
     
  6. mcdirector

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    I do understand the intent issue, but this guy did not have his keys in his hands, they were on the console. He was also asleep (*ahem* passed out).
     
  7. sag38

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    If I let a friend borrow my truck and he plows into a row of parked cars, then I can be held responsible for the damages even though I wasn't driving the vehicle. I wasn't even in it when the "accident" occured. Explain the logic of this law.
     
  8. Gina B

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    Of course it was upheld. If he was honestly in there to sleep it off, he'd have gotten into the backseat, which to my understanding, is perfectly legal.

    I think the average person knows it is not legal to be drunk and in the drivers seat of a car. Besides being dumb, it's really hard to convince an officer that yes, you have the keys. Yes, you're in the car. Yes, you're in the drivers seat. Yes, you are drunk. Yes, you've done it before.
    Now why wouldn't he believe you were just trying to sleep it off?
    Let's see. Maybe because you have the keys. You're in the car. You're in the driver's seat, and you are drunk. And you've been convicted of such in the past.

    But you really believe the man over the police? The man who drank TWELVE beers, had prior drunk driving convictions, claims he was so tired he left his apartment home and bed to stumble to his car and sleep in the drivers seat?

    Yeah. Let's believe the drunk over the trained officers. That's logical.
     
  9. Jason Garrett

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    Sag, i believe you are mistaken. At least criminally, you are not liable. The only instance I could think of is if you, knowing your friend was intoxicated, permitted him to drive you vehicle and that scenario ended up happening. Civily, you probably would be liable. Criminally, I don't think so. But you would probably have to have known about his intoxicated state.
     
  10. StefanM

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    A person who has consumed 12 beers will not be in a fully "logical" state.

    My objection is philosophical. I don't believe that an officer should have the authority to arrest based on "intent" or anything of that nature. IMO, only actual commission of a crime should render someone criminally liable. "Intent" comes dangerously close to thought crime.
     
  11. lori4dogs

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    I really don't care whether the car was operational. This man is obviously a menace to society and if he doesn't get to rehab will probably end up killing people. Had the car been operational, he would most likely been off to the liquor store for more alcohol. At least he is no longer jeopardizing the public while he cools his heels in lock-up.

    Hopefully, he will end up eventually finding recovery.
     
  12. StefanM

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    So now we are justifying punishment based on "will probably" happen?
     
  13. Gina B

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    True, he wouldn't be in a logical state, but the people on this board, hopefully, haven't had ANY beer, so I expect them to use a bit more logic than I'm seeing.

    Intent usually holds a lot more than "thought," and still is a crime in many cases. (in others it can make a wrongful action innocent, but that's not the case here)

    While he failed, the intent of the latest innocent-until-proven-guilty-terrorist in NYC was to terrorize people. He had the explosives and everything he needed set up, yet it didn't happen. Is he guilty of attempted murder, even though nobody died?

    There are men and women who plot to kill their husbands and work with people to accomplish that goal, but change their minds. Are they guilty of a crime?

    Getting behind the wheel of a car while drunk shows intent to commit a crime. Police have to look at everything surrounding a situation, and those judging the actions of a police officer must do the same thing to understand their actions. I'd imagine that if he had been in the passenger or the back seat, if he did not have any prior convictions, if he hadn't tried to say he left his own home to go sleep in the front seat of his car with his keys in the car, the police may not have believed there was any unlawful intent going on.

    But yeah. Thankfully, intent can be used to determine whether something should be considered right or wrong. That's a good thing for us! It helps keep us safe because there are a LOT of people out there with bad intentions. :) And when you are a repeat offender, your intent in any situation becomes a lot more questionable, and that's not bad. It's the fault of the criminal for making themselves untrustworthy. It's a price you pay that doesn't go away very easy, even if you "did you time" or paid a fine.
     
  14. Jason Garrett

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    The Officer isn't expected to determine intent. The Officer is there to enforce the law. The law already states it is a crime to get behind the wheel of a vehicle with your keys in an intoxicated state. Don't blame the officer, blame the law.
     
  15. StefanM

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    I do blame the law (and the lawmakers). If the law requires an action, the officer must act.
     
  16. Jon-Marc

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    A typical example of the messed up "justice" system we have. Instead of going after real criminals and solving real crimes (that would take more intelligence than they've got), they harass and convict people who aren't even committing a crime.

    The man was sleeping off a drunk in a car that wouldn't even start. Such stupidity! With laws like that, it's impossible to do anything without the fear of there being a law against it.

    I read once about a little boy who looked up a little girl's dress and was arrested and placed on a sex offender's list. I hate to think what they would have done to me when I played "Show me yours and I'll show you mine" with a girl when I was a child.
     
  17. Jason Garrett

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    Jon-Marc, I share your frustration with many of the laws I have to enforce. Many indeed are nonsensical.

    Regarding the "little boy" story you brought. I can say with 100% certainty it didn't happen. Little boys can't be charged in any criminal court.
     
  18. Salty

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    I have a simple solution -
    How about if the officer had taken the keys and then called a friend or relative and had the keys over to a responsible adult.

    Oh, this would have been too simple.

    I don't fault the officer for checking out the situation. And I agree the law is a bit stupid, but remember the officer is in essence Judge, jury and executioner. He could have used a little bit of common sense.

    There is not one of us would could drive, lets say 25 miles, without breaking at least one driving law.
     
  19. billwald

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    In Washington State the charge would have been "in physical control" and DWI is a misdemeanor.
     
  20. billwald

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    state's rights!

    >Minnesota man was convicted of a DUI offense in a car that wasn't moving.

    By the way, you should all be pleased with this demonstration of state's rights. You don't like Minnesota law, stay out of Minnesota.
     

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