Daily Archives: January 22, 2010
So you thought the crime of drunk driving required….well, driving?
High court: Asleep at wheel, not driving, enough to get a DWI
Minneapolis, MN. Jan. 21 — Being drunk and asleep at the wheel of his car while it was parked in his apartment lot with the keys on the console was sufficient evidence to convict a Crookston man of drunken driving, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday.
In a seven-page decision, Justice Alan Page said the jury could reasonably conclude that Daryl Fleck was in "physical control" of his vehicle when arrested.
Fleck’s appellate lawyer, G. Tony Atwal, an assistant state public defender, disagreed with the ruling. "Presumably, if you’re in or about your car, the county attorney could now charge you with a physical control DWI," Atwal said.
In 2007, Fleck was drunk and asleep in his car with the driver’s door open in the assigned parking spot at his apartment building when someone called police. He got his fourth drunken-driving conviction and was sentenced to four years in prison. The state Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction, setting up the appeal to the Supreme Court.
Atwal said he pushed the appeals because there was no indication Fleck had driven; the engine was cold, and the car wouldn’t even start when an officer tried it.
I suppose the next step is to throw people in jail for drunk driving without being drunk. Oh, right, I forgot, they already can — if the machine says your blood-alcohol level is .08%.