Drunk man sleeping in car still deserves DWI, Minn. Supreme Court says
Photo by Jaap Stronks
It's official: You really can get a DWI if police find you drunk in your car with no evidence you ever drove the car while intoxicated. Epic fail for van bums.
The Minnesota Supreme Court upheld a man's drunk-driving conviction with a unanimous ruling. The man was found drunk and sleeping in his parked car outside his apartment building with the keys on the console.
"Based on the totality of the circumstances a jury could reasonably conclude that (the defendant) was in physical control of his vehicle," Justice Alan Page wrote.
The back story: Police got a call in 2007 about a man asleep in his car. They found Darryl Fleck passed out and drunk in the driver's seat with the keys on the console. There was no evidence he had driven the car while intoxicated and he was sentenced to four years in prison for drunken driving.
Fleck appealed the conviction up to the state Supreme Court. No luck for Fleck or all others who choose to pass out for a bit in their car, no matter where it sits. The law says you have to be in "physical control of a motor vehicle" and Page said he hopes this deters other drunk drivers from getting in any vehicle unless there is a designated driver and they are clearly a passenger.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.