Convicted of Drunk Driving…Without Driving

Posted by Lawrence Taylor on March 26th, 2009

Want to know how crazy things have gotten?  

Minnesota Court: You Needn’t Be Driving to Be Guilty of DWI

Appeals court upholds conviction of man found passed out in parked car. 

Minneapolis, MN.  Mar. 24 — Daryl Fleck was drunk and asleep in his car in the parking lot of his Crookston apartment building when someone called police.

Officers who responded that night in 2007 saw his car keys on the console between the front seats, but found no evidence that Fleck, who was parked in his assigned spot, had recently driven.

Nonetheless, Fleck was convicted of drunken driving, and on Tuesday, the Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld that conviction in a decision that serves as a reminder that a person can be guilty of drunken driving without having driven.

The appeals court said that Fleck’s keys were "readily available to him," and there was no evidence he was in the car to do something other than drive. That he may not have intended to drive is "immaterial," the eight-page decision said…

So if this guy could have driven, then…he did?  And if he could have stolen a car, he did?  Clearly, the DUI scene is becoming increasingly Kafkaesque.  But maybe the public is finally starting to recognize the MADDness.  The following is an editorial from another Minneapolis newspaper the next day:

Driving While Immobile

The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the DWI conviction of a man sleeping in a parked car.

Minneapolis, MN.  Mar. 25
– That Daryl Fleck , 55, may not have intended to drive when he was found sleeping drunk in the driver’s seat of his vehicle, parked in his home lot at 11:30 p.m. “is immaterial,” Judge Terri Stoneburner argued in a Minnesota Appeals Court decision that upheld Fleck’s drunk driving conviction…

A sleeping drunk with no intent to drive or motion to constitute driving can now be charged under Minnesota’s Driving While Impaired statute. Make no mistake: This ruling holds that the potential to commit crime constitutes actual crime, and one is guilty until proven innocent. “There is no evidence his purpose for being in the vehicle was inconsistent with driving,” the opinion stated.

The Fleck case, like Starfield before it, is downright tyrannical law. Minnesota should increase DWI penalties before stretching enforceability beyond the reasonable meaning of language. Whether the keys are near them or not, a snoring drunk has no more control of a vehicle than he does with his dreams. Daryl Fleck now faces four years in prison for never actually posing a danger to his self or others.

And for those who think this case was just an isolated aberration, see my previous posts:  Drunk Driving – Without Driving, Parking Under the Influence  and Pulling Over and Sleeping It Off: Still a DUI?.

(Thanks to Jeanne Pruett and RIDL)

  • David W

    This isn’t crazy, it’s insane.

    Utter speculation of MADD’s “you might” philosophy. So I guess the next time you are tired, pull into a rest area to get some sleep, have tour doors locked but your keys in the car, you will not be charged with a dui, but you will be charged with being to impaired to operate a motor vehicle.

    Have these justices drank too much alcohol during the course of their lifetime or what? After all Laura Dean Mooney claims alcohol use leads to these types of problems. Comprehension problems to be specific.

    This is wrong. Any kindergarden student could figure that out (unless MADD got to them first)

  • standup

    So what’s next ?? Getting arrested for being drunk in your own home,while your car is in the garage, and you have the keys to it on your coffee table ?

  • RichardAlan

    This is from case law. Why are not defense attorney’s sighting this case law? Why was my license taken from me for claiming my legal rights during a traffic stop? Why didn’t my or your attorney do anything based on the following? What is wrong in this country?

    Why does it appear that all attorneys seem to be Frauds?

    “Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them.” Miranda vs. Arizona, 384 US 436, 491.

    “The claim and exercise of a constitutional Right cannot be converted into a crime.” Miller vs. U.S., 230 F. 486, 489.

    “There can be no sanction or penalty imposed upon one because of this exercise of constitutional Rights.” Snerer vs. Cullen, 481 F. 946.
    Streets and highways are established and maintained for the purpose of travel and transportation by the public. Such travel may be for business or pleasure.

    “The use of the highways for the purpose of travel and ransportation is not a mere privilege, but a common and fundamental Right of which the public and the individual cannot be rightfully deprived.” [emphasis added] Chicago Motor Coach vs. Chicago, 169 NE 22; Ligare vs. Chicago, 28 NE 934; Boon vs. Clark, 214 SSW 607; 25 Am.Jur. (1st) Highways Sect.163.

  • RichardAlan

    We are all waiting for one lawyer to come on this thread and explain why this information in law is NOT being used during per se hearings in DMV procedure? –to protect the sovereignty of private free citizens, who exercise their constitutional rights.

    I’m gonna guess that because all attorneys are sworn to the “Bar” which is sanctioned by the State, that if an attorney were to “Really” to the job in protecting his client he’d be disbarred by the state and charged with contempt, then thrown in jail. (?)

  • elemansayfasi

    Great blog right here! Additionally your web site rather a lot up fast! What web host are you the use of? Can I get your associate link on your host? I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol