The end of January will see a prominent assemblyman attempt to overturn a drunk driving conviction, according to local news. Nevada Assemblyman Richard Carrillo is appealing his DUI conviction following an incident in which he was arrested last February. The lower court sentenced the politician to community service, an $800 fine and ordered him to refrain from possessing any firearm for one year.
According to the police report from Feb. 27, Carrillo was found sleeping in a planter box not far from a bar where he told officers he had been drinking. He apparently told officers he had a ride coming to pick him up. He was found a short time later by the same officers, sleeping in his parked vehicle in front of the bar with the engine running.
Legal representation for Carrillo argued that there was no evidence that the man had driven his vehicle at all between being awoken by officers and falling asleep again. They argued that, in order for a drunk driving conviction to be valid, the prosecution would have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the man had actually driven while intoxicated. The prosecution countered by citing a 1989 Nevada Supreme Court case in which it was ruled that even an unconscious person could be considered in control of a motor vehicle.
Nevada prosecutors have argued Carrillo was “in control” of his vehicle at the time of his arrest. However, it remains to be see how the appellate court will decide this DUI dispute. The appeal underscores the fact that, even when a criminal conviction is obtained, important legal issues may be raised on appeal in an attempt to right a perceived injustice.
Source: nevadaappeal.com, “Assemblyman Richard Carrillo DUI appeal set for January“, Geoff Dornan, Dec. 22, 2015